Stephen Sutton: How a teenager touched our hearts – and raised over £3m for charity

His mother said her heart is 'bursting with pride but breaking with pain' after announcing the death of her 'courageous' son

The mother of a teenager who raised more than £3m for a cancer charity after being diagnosed with the disease, has paid tribute to a “courageous, selfless, inspirational son”.

Stephen Sutton died four years after he was first diagnosed with bowel cancer. Tributes honouring the 19-year-old have been led by the Prime Minister David Cameron and continue to flood social media today.

His mother, Jane Sutton, released a statement on the Stephen's Story Facebook page confirming his death.

“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," 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.”

In the hours following the announcement, donations for The Teenage Cancer Trust on Stephen's Just Giving page surged by more than £100,000.

Stephen made headlines for raising over £3million for charity after he posted an emotional farewell message to the followers of his Stephen’s Story Facebook page. He had initially set out to raise just £10,000.

Soon, celebrities including Benedict Cumberbatch, Jason Manford, Simon Pegg and Russell Brand took to social media and encouraged others to give money to the cause.

In an interview with The Sun when he was well enough, the teenager said: "You only get one shot at life. I need to make every second count."

He added: "I'd much rather measure how long I've got left in terms of achievements, rather than time. How quickly the clock ticks is unimportant to me.

"What matters is raising awareness and raising money for the Teenage Cancer Trust."

Since then, more than 135,000 people from around the world have donated to his Just Giving page, with donations continuing to pour in after his death was announced.

Tributes for the teenager have been flooding in on Twitter, with many paying homage to his “spirit” and “bravery”.

Offering his deepest sympathies to Stephen's family and those who knew him, Mr Cameron said: "I can hardly think of anyone I've met with such a zest for life, and such a belief that you can get things done, and who wanted to live every minute.

Stephen was diagnosed with bowel cancer at the age of 15. In 2012 he was told his condition was incurable and in April this year he filmed a moving final farewell, believing he was about to die.

A month later, Sutton experienced what he described 'a miraculous recovery' after coughing up a tumour. Following successful surgery, he was well enough to be discharged from Birmingham's Queen Elizabeth Hospital on 2 May.

But he was readmitted on Sunday, with his family confirming that his condition had deteriorated "due to a re-growth of tumours".

Stephen with actor Russell Brand Stephen with actor Russell Brand In a lengthy post on his Facebook page Stephen’s Story, on 8 May, Sutton said: “I was first diagnosed with bowel cancer in September 2010. I then have had periods of remission and relapse, before doctors eventually described my disease as incurable in November 2012. Throughout this time I have underwent all manner of treatments (surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy, etc) that have helped treat and prolong my life.

“I actually I see myself as very fortunate- despite being incurable for a while I have had a sustained period of very good health where I was able to go out and enjoy things thoroughly…

“Ultimately, there is no miracle cure for me. I am potentially the most positive and optimistic person in the world, but we have to be realistic with what we are up against. My disease is very advanced and will get me eventually, but I will try my damn hardest to be here as long as possible.”

Stephen pictured with his mother, Jane, who left a moving tribute to her son on the Stephen's Story Facebook page Stephen pictured with his mother, Jane, who left a moving tribute to her son on the Stephen's Story Facebook page In a statement after news of Stephen's death was announced, the Teenage Cancer Trust said: "We are humbled and hugely grateful for what Stephen achieved and continues to achieve for us.

"The thoughts of everyone here at Teenage Cancer Trust are with Stephen's family and friends."

The Teenage Cancer Trust will share details of a legacy plan for Stephen Sutton in the coming weeks. 

If you want to donate to Stephen's Story, go to his Just Giving page.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Recruitment Genius: HR Manager

£36000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Ashdown Group: HR Manager Shared Services - Uxbridge, - 1 Year contract

£50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: HR Manager Shared Services - Uxbridge, Stock...

Recruitment Genius: Graduate Human Resource Officer and Executive Assistant

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join one of...

Ashdown Group: HR Assistant (Events business) - Central Manchester - £20K

£18000 - £20000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Assistant (Events busi...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power