How Stephen Sutton Became An Internet Hero
The 19-year-old, who died in the early hours of this morning, managed to inspire millions with his fundraising efforts and lust for life.
Stephen Sutton, who died today aged 19, set out to raise £10,000 for charity but ended up raising £3.5 million. His inspiring story touched people around the world. How did it happen?
Stephen's face was occasionally seen in local newspapers last year as he ticked off the 46 things to do on his "bucket list".
This is around when #stephensstory started trending on Twitter.
People were inspired by his devotion to doing something meaningful with the time he had left – or just something he'd always wanted.
Like getting a tattoo.
And meeting an elephant.
He won acclaim for his inspirational talks – which at this stage were mainly in his native Midlands.
He met Jimmy Carr – which was one of his bucket list items.
Then, the Prime Minister too.
In total, he managed to tick off 33 out of 46 items on his list.
1) Raise £10,000 for teenage cancer trust- NEW TARGET.. £1,000,000 - DONE!
2) Skydive for charity- DONE
3) Bungee jump for charity (at some place like the Macua tower, Verzasca dam, Victoria falls, etc)
4) Organize a charity party- DONE
5) Charity waxing and head shave
6) Write a book - DONE
7) Release a "tumour humour" joke book containing jokes, funny stories and anecdotes from cancer, that can help people to look at the brighter side of life
8) Organize a charity football match- DONE
9) Do a charity hitchhike visiting every Teenage Cancer Trust unit across the country
10) Write, record and release a charity single with my old band
11) Organize a charity gig - DONE
12) Go busking!- DONE
13) Persuade local schools to have a 'get wiggy with it' non uniform day- DONE
14) Charity quizzes at local pubs- DONE
15) Organize a charity ball- DONE
16) Host a charity 'Come Dine With STE' dinner party for friends- DONE
17) Organize and be part of a flash mob- DONE
18) Organize a gigantic game of musical chairs/pass the parcel/etc- DONE
19) Go to a carnival in Brazil.
20) Go to Wembley to see a football match- DONE
21) Go to Twickenham to see a rugby match- DONE
22) Fly somewhere first class- DONE
23) Get a tattoo- DONE
24) Drum in front of a huge crowd- DONE
25) Do some public speaking in front of a huge crowd of people- DONE
26) Go visit a famous waterfall
27) Throw a massive party for all my friends- DONE
28) Go on a 'lads holiday'- DONE
29) Go to Australia
30) Hug an animal that is bigger than me- DONE
31) Ride a Segway- DONE
32) Go to a Skrillex concert
33) Go see a darts competition- DONE
34) Get my name into the Guinness World Book of Records somehow
35) Go to CERN in Switzerland- DONE
36) Meet Jimmy Carr- DONE
37) Go to another music festival- DONE
38) Find someone with more surgical scars than me (>47cm worth)- DONE
39) Star as an extra in a film or music video- DONE
40) Get Tim Minchin to write a song for me - DONE
41) Learn to juggle
42) Inspire someone else to become a doctor or fundraiser- DONE
43) Have my portrait drawn- DONE
44) Crowd surf in a rubber dingy at a gig- DONE
45) Try breathing in xenon or sulphur dioxid eand talking (has the opposite effect of helium)
46) Visit Machu Picchu in Peru
Stephen posted what he called his "farewell thumbs up" picture to Facebook on 22 April, in which he thanked his friends, family and supporters.
Then £500,000 was raised in less than 24 hours.
He posted on 28 April, "I thought I was a goner, but one week on I'm still here!" On 2 May was even discharged from hospital, before going back in on 11 May, as he wrote in his final Facebook post.
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, Wednesday 14th May. 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.
Tributes have poured in from across the world. Comedian Jason Manford – who called Stephen during a gig – said he was the most inspiring person he'd met.
Stephen developed a deep understanding of what's important in life. We will miss him enormously but he leaves an amazing legacy and we believe that it is fitting for us to focus our attention on celebrating his life. Stephen is the most exceptional person I have ever known.v