Some people are born to be living angels. Their time upon this earth is often fleeting yet this doesn't stop them from leaving behind a legacy of hope, positivity and inspiration. If you have been following his incredibly heart-warming, heart-rendering and heart-breaking story via social media then you will know that Stephen Sutton was one such person.
Stephen was diagnosed with bowel cancer at the age of 15 having previously been misdiagnosed with constipation. An almighty and sickening blow for the average person yet Stephen soon proved himself to be anything but average.
On the very day he began chemotherapy he attended a friend's party despite advice from his doctors to go home and take it easy. Stephen dressed up as a granny in a wheelchair and was, in his own words, "quite convincing" given his pale and fragile state. According to his teachers he only missed three days of school throughout his illness and walked away with a string of straight A-grades, such was his determination, unbreakable spirit and keen mind. His greatest desire was to study medicine and there is no doubt that he would have made one hell of a doctor.
Stephen's story caught national and wide-spread international attention in April following a rather extraordinary and bittersweet post on his Facebook page:
It wasn't quite the end however, and with what little time he knew he had left Stephen threw himself into raising funds for The Teenage Cancer trust. His initial goal was to reach £10,000 and that amount was rapidly surpassed as his appeal went viral. What the heck, thought Stephen, let's aim for £1 million! Within days the total had hit over £3.2 million and donations continue to flood in.
The 19-year-old's awe-inspiring battle with cancer came to an end yesterday morning and his mother was the first to pay tribute to an extraordinary life and son:
Stephen was once quoted as saying:
“Life isn’t measured by the amount of time you’re here, it’s measured by your achievements”.
A befitting, self-penned epitaph from a relentlessly upbeat, unashamedly positive giant of a man who achieved more in these last few months than most will achieve in a lifetime of living.