Stephen Sutton died today. Lots of people are already aware of his extraordinary fundraising achievements… and watching the donations and messages flood on to his Just Giving page is extraordinarily moving.
I don’t know Stephen, or his family. I had heard of the Teenager Cancer Trust but had never really looked into its work, nor had I made a donation.
I’m not sure why I’m writing, but I think it’s rare to feel so moved by the achievements, and passing, of a stranger and there’s something desperately uplifting and devastating reading messages of those donating to his cause. Stephen set out to raise £100,000. At the last count, this total stood at over £3.3 million.
Stephen’s family must be suffering the most terrible grief, but knowing how much their son touched other people’s lives and that he has raised such a staggering amount of money for the TCT will hopefully provide them with some comfort at such a sad time.
Perhaps what people recognise as so exceptional in Stephen’s attitude to his fight with cancer and in his determination to enjoy every moment of his short life (19 is just so bloody young…), is that they themselves would not have been able to respond to the same situation in a similar way. I’d like to say I’d be equally upbeat, determined and outgoing, but I’m not sure I would. In fact, I fear the opposite might happen. That I’d be bitter, angry and insular. That I would spiral downward into depression and struggle to rise above the sadness and the frustration. Who knows?
What I do know, however, is that Stephen Sutton was a total star, and that his legacy will live on. Nice work Stephen. What a life.