i Editor's Letter: In "losing his fight with cancer", Stephen Sutton still found a way to win


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The Independent Online


Today: an unlikely uplifting tale about a young man who has died from cancer. Three weeks ago, few people outside the Midlands had heard of Stephen Sutton. After being given a terminal diagnosis, the 19-year-old from Burntwood in Staffordshire set out to raise £10,000 for charity. Instead, he has raised £3.5 million, from 150,000 different people, almost all of them strangers - £2.50 here, £5 there, £10,000 from the  comedian Jason Manford.

Stephen’s story is the antidote to the usual sneering about the narcissism of social media - his smiling updates all urging the public to donate. Misdiagnosed aged 15 with constipation instead of bowel cancer, he admitted that he was angry at the doctors responsible, but his relentless good cheer when confronted with his mortality has inspired millions of people.

Being so close to death, he said, was “scary, but at the same time incredibly reinvigorating”.

He explained his new philosophy: “I don’t see the point in measuring life in time any more,” he said. “I would rather measure it in terms of what I actually achieve.”

This staggering sum of money will go to the relatively small charity Teenage Cancer Trust, which tries to improve young cancer patients’ chances of survival by building specialist units at hospitals around the country, and supporting patients. It will change the way the charity works. Lives will be saved.

Stephen Sutton did not “lose his fight with cancer”, as the hackneyed journalese often goes. He rejoiced in life and has inspired others to celebrate it too.


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