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 and Payroll Manager

£35000 - £38000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This dynamic outsourced contact...

Recruitment Genius: Production & Quality Control Assistant

£19000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An excellent opportunity for a ...

Ashdown Group: Group HR Advisor - Kettering - £32,000

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Group HR Advisor with an established...

Guru Careers: HR Manager / HR Generalist

£40 - 50k (DOE) + Bonus: Guru Careers: We are seeking a HR Manager / HR Genera...

Day In a Page

The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

Lobster has gone mainstream

Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

Paul Scholes column

Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss