Stephen Sutton was diagnosed with bowel cancer at the age of 15. Two years later, he was told that it would be terminal. Now, at 19, Stephen has done something incredible: He raised more than a million dollars for charity and inspired thousands and thousands of people with his story.
After he was diagnosed, Stephen wrote on Facebook, "Originally all I ever wanted to do was study hard and make a difference to the world by becoming a doctor. However in light of my current circumstances I have decided to be more pragmatic with my time."
Instead, Stephen made a bucket list of 46 things, all in hopes of raising money for charity.
Here are just a few of the things Stephen was able to check off his bucket list: Skydive, write a book, be part of a flash mob, fly first class, get a tattoo, hug an animal that is bigger than him, learn to juggle, crowd surf at a gig and meet comedian Jimmy Carr.
But the no. 1 item on his list was always to raise £10,000, or nearly $17,000, for Teenage Cancer Trust.
"Teenage Cancer Trust have helped me hugely throughout my own cancer battle and helped shape who I am and my positive attitude today," he explained. "They offer hope and a sense of community to young people with cancer like myself, and directly help face associated pragmatic and emotional issues."
Stephen's story spread and he quickly passed £10k. So he upped the ante:
"By far the most important thing to me, was to raise £10,000 for Teenage Cancer Trust… but I think it's fair to say we've smashed that total!!! But why stop there?! With everyone's help we currently have a platform to achieve something truly special, so I have upped the new target to ONE MILLION- yes, one million- pounds!!!"
Earlier this week, Stephen updated his Facebook saying that he was having trouble breathing and had to be taken to the hospital. His tumors caused his right lung to collapse and he had to be permanently hooked up to an oxygen machine.
"I don't really want to die," he wrote. "But hopefully my journey has influenced a lot of people for the better and taught people not to take life for granted. I think it has, and will hopefully continue to do so in the future, so in a situation that seems so unfair and without explanation, at least there has certainly been some purpose for me in my short time alive, which certainly helps ease the pain."
A bit later, he followed up with a picture of him giving a final thumbs up and a short letter:
It's a final thumbs up from me! I've done well to blag things as well as I have up till now, but unfortunately I think this is just one hurdle too far.
It's a shame the end has come so suddenly- there's so many people I haven't got round to properly thank or say goodbye too. Apologies for that.
There was also so many exciting projects and things I didn't get to see out. Hopefully some will continue and if you want to carry on the fundraising please do…
All future updates on this page will probably be from a family member. I hopefully may have the energy to write a few tweets (@_StephensStory). I will continue fighting for as long as I can, and whatever happens next I want you all to know I am currently in a good place mentally and at ease with the situation.
That's it from me. But life has been good. Very good.
Thank you to my mum and the rest of my family for everything. Thank you to my friends for being amazing. Thank you to my medical team for the hard work and effort they've continually they've put towards me. And thank you everyone else for sharing this wonderful journey with me.
I love you all x
And Stephen hit his goal: At the time of publishing, more than 50,000 donors had contributed more one million pounds (£1,362,162.85, to be exact, which is more than $2 million) to Teenage Cancer Trust. Though he said he struggled to write his Facebook posts, he gathered enough strength to tweet his excitement:
Perked up quite a bit since earlier. Still here, still fighting, still very weak, but still smiling :)? Stephen's Story (@_StephensStory) April 22, 2014
Tonight's show of love and support epitomises how great people can be? Stephen's Story (@_StephensStory) April 22, 2014
The world is a truly wonderful place? Stephen's Story (@_StephensStory) April 22, 2014
Donate to Stephen's JustGiving page here.