Cancer charity fundraiser and blogger Stephen Sutton dies aged 19

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

United Kingdom blogger and cancer charity fundraiser Stephen Sutton has died today at the age of 19.

Sutton, himself a cancer sufferer, gained media attention in the UK for his fundraising activities for Teenage Cancer Trust, which have raised more than £3.3 million (US$5.5 million or 4 million) for the charity. Sutton's original goal was £10,000 (US$16,800 or €12,200) for the charity. His mother said he died in his sleep during the early hours of this morning.

Stephen Sutton was the most inspiring person I've ever met and touched more lives than he will ever know

Jason Manford, comedian

Sutton's mother broke the news in a post on 'Stephen's story', the Facebook page launched in January 2013 in which Sutton documented events in his life. "My heart is bursting with pride but breaking with pain for my courageous, selfless, inspirational son", she wrote. "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." Previous posts on the Facebook page spoke of Sutton's deteriorating condition. Yesterday a post on the same Facebook page said: "Unfortunately in the last 24 hours Stephen's condition has deteriorated to where he can no longer communicate through this page himself. Unfortunately the breathlessness which had him re-admitted to hospital is due to the regrowth of tumours which are blocking his airways, and not just due to infection as we had all been hoping." However, the update also said he was "comfortable and stable".

Sutton, from the town of Burntwood in the West Midlands of England, was told he was suffering from a metastatic colorectal cancer at the age of 15. On a JustGiving page, Sutton explained why he was raising money for his chosen charity. "Teenage Cancer Trust have helped me hugely throughout my own cancer battle and helped shape who I am and my positive attitude today", he said. "They offer hope and a sense of community to young people with cancer like myself, and directly help face associated pragmatic and emotional issues." His fundraising efforts received widespread media attention, part of which was due to a thumbs up image of himself he posted on the Facebook page in April, which he then believed would be his last. Sutton's campaign received numerous celebrity endorsements, including from Stephen Fry, Russell Brand and Simon Cowell. Comedian Jason Manford also arranged comedy gigs to assist with Sutton's campaign.

On Twitter today, the Teenage Cancer Trust said: "We are humbled and hugely grateful for what Stephen achieved and continues to achieve for us." British Prime Minister tweeted: "His spirit, bravery and fundraising for cancer research were all an inspiration." Meanwhile, Leader of the Opposition Ed Miliband said on the social networking site: "His bravery & determination to live life to the full was an inspiration to us all." Jason Manford paid his own tribute to Sutton. "Stephen Sutton was the most inspiring person I've ever met and touched more lives than he will ever know", he said. "He was an incredibly positive young man and a credit to his family, to Burntwood and to humanity itself. The reason we took to him so passionately was because he was better than us, he did something that none of us could even imagine doing. In his darkest hour he selflessly dedicated his final moments to raising millions of pounds for teenagers with cancer. Some of Stephen's words will stay with me and others forever and they are words to live by — 'life isn't measured in time, it's measured in achievements'."