UPDATE: The team at MD Communications were so incredibly sad to hear the news that Stephen had died in his sleep this week. The Facebook comment from his mother said it all:
My heart is bursting with pride but breaking with pain for my courageous, selfless, inspirational son who passed away peacefully in his sleep in the early hours of this morning, Wednesday 14th May. The ongoing support and outpouring of love for Stephen will help greatly at this difficult time, in the same way as it helped Stephen throughout his journey. We all know he will never be forgotten, his spirit will live on, in all that he achieved and shared with so many.
Love,His mom x
The story of Stephen Sutton – courageous teenage cancer patient and all round inspiring person – has been everywhere over the past week. Few can fail to have noticed the news pieces in the media – both print and digital – as well as the #stephensstory hashtag, which has been trending on both Twitter and Facebook. What really captured the public consciousness was the message the Stephen posted on his Facebook page last week, essentially a ‘last goodbye’ to everyone who had helped or messaged him. It was heartbreaking in terms of being such a final farewell from such a young person but the reason it touched so many was simply the brave and practical outlook through which it was written. Instead of self pity or sadness at the fact that he had been ravaged so young by the disease and was unlikely to get the chance to experience so many of the life events that most people do, Stephen’s message focused on the positive “That’s it from me. But life has been good. Very good.”
In fact, that’s the essence of Stephen’s entire story, as he has not only fought the cancer that he’s had incredibly bravely but also made the most of the time that he does have to fulfill both his own ambitions via a ‘bucket list’ and to raise an enormous amount of money for cancer charities. Whilst his initial target was to raise £10,000, his achievements currently total over £3 million, which is an incredible figure for a single person to raise. And as the interest in Stephen grows, the total continues to go up with numerous celebrities and international figures putting their name to his cause, such as actor Benedict Cumberbatch and comedians like Jimmy Carr.
The impact of what has essentially become a fundraising campaign clearly turns on the compelling nature of Stephen’s story and the fact that he has made the choices he has with respect to the hand that life has dealt him – with such amazing honesty. It also to a certain extent demonstrates the power that social media has to springboard a story from Twitter and Facebook into the mainstream press and even onto the TV news. Stephen has been expert at using this to raise awareness for his cause, from posting selfies with famous faces to the regular updates about his progress that he has made to the Facebook page, which now has more than 473,000 fans. The result is that his fundraising total is spiralling at an impressive rate as his message has gone viral and he is reaching people all over the country. He’s an impressive chap in more ways than one.
And the great news this week is that the media has been reporting that Stephen has ‘coughed up a tumour,’ the result of which is that he may have longer to live than he initially thought when posting his goodbye message last week. Although Stephen remains practical when speaking about this incredible development and what it might mean for him, highlighting that he’s still terminally ill, he has said that “It’s still a case of taking each day as it comes, but at the moment the days just keep on coming!! J”
Read more about Stephen’s Story on his Facebook page www.facebook.com/StephensStory.