UK teen’s cancer battle inspires thousands, raises millions

Stephen Sutton
Stephen Sutton

LONDON (CNN) — “You know that old saying: When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. But what do you do when life gives you cancer? This is not a sob story. This is Stephen’s story,” Stephen Sutton said.

Stephen was diagnosed with cancer in December 2010.

He created a bucket list on Facebook of 46 things he wanted to do before he ran out of time.

“Some things on my bucket list include Sky Diving. Crowd surfing in a rubber dinghy. Playing drums in front of a huge crowd. I ended up doing it live at Wembley,” Stephen said.

But as he checked off each item, something else happened.

“Since starting the bucket list, I’ve had people come up to me and offer to raise funds for me. To go on holiday or tick off a new item on my bucket list. But I’ve actually refused. And decided to give the money to charity instead,” Stephen said.

Stephen set a goal of £10,000. He has now raised almost £3 million. About 4 million dollars and it is continuing to grow with celebrities chipping in their support, every day.

“Since starting the bucket list my life has changed completely. I’m not doing so many weird and wonderful things. And so much more. The opportunity to do this. And the one thing I’ve absolutely enjoyed is the fund raising. So, that’s the main thing I want to concentrate on,” Stephen said.

The money goes to Teenage Cancer Trust – the charity that has helped him through each surgery, each round of radiation and chemotherapy.

“We aren’t a large charity. We raise about 12 million pounds a year and in less than a week, Stephen has raised a quarter of our budget,” Siobhan Dunn, Teenage Cancer Trust said.

But no amount of money can reverse the cancer in Stephen’s body. He has exhausted his medical options and is now living as comfortably as he can under hospice care.

On 22 April 2014 Stephen posted this message: “It’s a final thumbs up from me! I’ve done well to blag things as well as I have up till now, but unfortunately I think this is just one hurdle too far.”

But Stephen held on. For how long, he doesn’t know. But he has promised to continue posting for as long as he can.

“I don’t really want to die. But, if my story teaches others not to take life for granted, then so be it. In the meantime, I’ll try and enjoy every minute as much as possible. Cancer sucks. But life is great,” Stephen said.

Learn more about Stephen at his website:

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