“Cancer sucks but life is great. Everyone can be positive.” Exclusive interview with Stephen Sutton
We caught up with the boy behind the story that’s sweeping the nation…
Stephen Sutton: the teenager who has touched the hearts of the nation. After three years of living with the disease, this inspirational young man is nearing the end of his battle with cancer.
The Tab had the honour of meeting up with Stephen just a couple of weeks ago to find out how he planned to raise his £1m for charity. But now his story has gone viral and the whole country has come together to smash his target.
His cancer is incurable and he only has a few days to live, but his fundraising has now passed the £2m mark.
Stephen, from Burntwood near Birmingham, tells us his mantra: “The best way to help yourself is to help others.”
Living up to this, the staggering amount of money he has raised for the charity that lies so close to his heart, Teenage Cancer Trust (TCT), will help many other young people fighting cancer.
The 19-year-old said: “TCT helped me when I needed it the most. Without them I wouldn’t be who I am today. I probably would not have such a positive attitude towards it all.”
This charity is the only one in the UK dedicated to improving the quality of life and chances of survival for young people with cancer aged between 13 and 24. It relies heavily on donations to fund their vital work.
Kate Collins, Director of Fundraising for Teenage Cancer Trust, said: “Stephen is the most incredibly inspiring young man and supporter of the charity. We rely on donations to fund our vital work and the funds he has raised will help us do so much for young people with cancer. We can’t thank Stephen enough.”
Stephen only announced he had his sights set on the big one million mark a couple of weeks ago and it is incredible that he has already achieved this goal.
Famously familiar faces, such as Jason Manford, Jack Whitehall and Becky Adlington, have all been getting behind the Burntwood teenager and helping him to gather support for his cause.
The renowned comedian donated £10,000 to Stephen’s Story and urged his followers to do the same.
Once the goal was reached Manford tweeted:
Stephen has been battling with cancer, on and off, since he was 15. After relapsing twice, he was told in 2012 that his cancer was incurable. Remarkably Stephen chose to look cancer in the face and tackle life with a positive attitude.
He said: “Being positive isn’t about being happy and smiley 24/7, it’s about making actual changes in life to empower you to do more and make yourself feel better as a result of those changes.”
He believes that this mindset is what has kept him going strong for so long.
His initial goal, two years ago, was to raise £10,000. That seems like a lifetime away now that he is nearing the £2m mark.
What started off as a Facebook page spiralled out of control. Within days his page had received thousands of likes which led to the birth of his fundraising website, Stephen’s Story, a year later.
Whilst he has experienced ups and down throughout the past three years he told us he is still happy with the life he has had and urges other young people with cancer to always make the best of a bad situation.
He said: “No amount of moaning will change the fact you have cancer. How you react to it is important. React as well as you can and the rest of it gets easier after that.”
Since the £1m target was reached we caught up with one of his close friends Todd Jackson.
“I’ve known Stephen for about 5 years now. He’s incredible, whilst battling his cancer he achieved countless A’s and A*’s in his GCSE’s and A-levels even self-teaching himself courses such as psychology A-level from hospital and home.”
Todd and Stephen’s other friends have helped organise various charity events including a flashmob, 24-hour basketball and several charity balls.
“We organised a flash mob in Birmingham bull ring, where in essence we all gathered to laugh out loud for five minutes straight, no matter who tried to talk to us or stop us. Some people even joined in.”
“His number 1 on his original bucket list was genuinely to raise £10,000 for Teenage Cancer Trust, now we’re pushing for £2 million.”
Despite being ill and spending a lot of time fundraising, Stephen still managed to find time to go to the pub on a Thursday night once or twice a month to meet his close friends.
“Unfortunately I’ve not seen Stephen for around a week. But he was his positive, chirpy self, sitting with us in the pub like any other 19-year-old.
“ I can’t really put into words how privileged I feel to know him, he has changed my life, the inspiration he gives to the majority of people on a day-to-day basis, when you get annoyed or upset over trivial things, you think of him and realise what have you got to moan about?
“He’s a credit to humanity and if more people gained his positivity he’d be so pleased of the influence he’s had.”
Before leaving Stephen told us: “Cancer sucks but life is great. Everyone can be positive.”
To keep supporting the work of this amazing individual text STEPHEN to 70300 to donate £5 to Teenage Cancer Trust or visit justgiving.com/Stephen-Sutton-TCT and give generously.
This article was originally published on The Tab Trent.