Born: 16 December, 1994. Died: 14 May, 2014, aged 19
Stephen Sutton’s multimillion-pound fundraising drive in the face of numerous operations and courses of chemotherapy was motivated by a simple desire to help others.
Diagnosed as having bowel cancer aged 15, the county-level athlete’s zest for life, good humour and seemingly unstinting stoicism won him supporters from around the world, including many celebrities.
Described by one of his former teachers at Chase Terrace Technology College as someone who “stuck two fingers up” at cancer, Stephen used social media and his blog with the stated aim of spreading as much positivity as possible.
At the head of the teenager’s original 46-item bucket list was raising £10,000 for the Teenage Cancer Trust, which is dedicated to improving the quality of life and chances of survival for young cancer patients, while also providing specialist units in NHS hospitals.
But by the time of his death, Stephen had raised more than £3.2 million by inspiring more than 135,000 people to donate to the Trust via his JustGiving web-page and at the time of writing this amount had soared to £3.45m.
During his 44-month fight against metastatic bowel cancer, Stephen summoned the strength to attend a fancy-dress party in a wheelchair a day after undergoing surgery to remove a tumour, played football using crutches, and went sky-diving.
Prime Minister David Cameron, who paid a private visit to Stephen at Birmingham’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital on 2 May, was among those who praised his “incredible” efforts to help those battling against cancer.
During the visit, which lasted around 15 minutes, Stephen posed for pictures alongside the Prime Minister, his mother Jane and the consultant treating him.
Mr Cameron, who gave Stephen a letter saying he was humbled by his bravery and positive attitude, said after their meeting: “He’s amazing, just an inspiration.
“Here’s this guy who is fighting a disease but he’s also got time to inspire hundreds of thousands of people.”
Anticipating how others would view him after his death, Stephen once told his supporters on YouTube: “For whatever reason, life has given me cancer.
“I don’t want to be remembered as someone who didn’t fulfil their potential.
“My original goal was to become a doctor and to help others that way. Unfortunately my diagnosis means that I won’t be able to fulfil that dream, however, my core purpose of helping others is still the same.”