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'Courageous' Stephen raised £5m

The mother of teenage cancer victim Stephen Sutton has said she is "immensely proud" of her son's achievements after it emerged that he raised almost £5 million for charity.

The 19-year-old inspired the biggest ever fundraiser that the Teenage Cancer Trust has ever had.

Stephen, who was diagnosed with bowel cancer aged 15, became a household name as he approached his disease with good humour and stoicism.

The teenager drew up a 46-item bucket list, including the aim of raising £10,000 for the charity, which is dedicated to improving the quality of life and chances of survival for young cancer patients, as well as providing specialist units in NHS hospitals.

By the time of his death, he had raised millions for the charity, inspiring people to donate via his JustGiving web page and his blog, Stephen's Story.

Stephen , who was awarded an MBE for his fundraising efforts, instructed the Teen age Cancer Trust to "keep doing what they do" but the organisation said that his efforts have allowed them to be "more ambitious".

The charity today set out its plans for the £4,961,352 raised in Stephen's name though donations and Gift Aid.

Around £2.9 million will be invested in the development or improvement or Teenage Cancer Trust units across seven cities in England and Scotland and £1.2 million will be spent on training cancer nurses and support staff. This money includes 50 Stephen Sutton scholarships for a postgraduate certificate in teenage and young adult cancer care at Coventry University. The charity said that these scholarships were named after the teenager in recognition of his ambition to have a medical career.

Half a million will be invested in digital information services for young cancer patients and £200,000 will be put towards travel costs for one of the charity's events, Find Your Sense of Tumour, where youngsters with cancer get together to learn about their conditions, make friends and share experiences .

Stephen's mother Jane Sutton said: "My son Stephen was courageous and inspirational. His selfless fundraising and positive attitude touched people across the world and the huge outpouring of love and support he received in return was humbling.

"Stephen believed that every young person with cancer has an inspiring story to tell and I know that so many young people in the same position as Stephen also fundraise in support of Teenage Cancer Trust. Stephen was passionate about supporting Teenage Cancer Trust, a charity that helped him understand that 'he may have had cancer but cancer didn't have him'.

"This money will make a significant difference to other young people with cancer and that would have made Stephen very happy.

"Stephen showed us how incredibly powerful even very small positive acts can be when lots of people get involved. I'm immensely proud of everything he achieved. We will never forget Stephen, and his positivity will live on through Stephen's Story for Teenage Cancer Trust."

The teenager, from Burntwood, Staffordshire, won the hearts of thousands of supporters - including Prime Minister David Cameron and comedian Jason Manford - and made his trademark "thumbs up" sign a symbol of his positive attitude.

In a YouTube video, he spoke of how he did not want "to be remembered as someone who didn't fulfil their potential" and despite not being able to become a doctor, he had stuck to his "core purpose" of helping others.

Before his death, he also said: "I don't see the point in measuring life in terms of time any more. I'd rather measure life in terms of making a difference."

Teenage Cancer Trust chief exectuive Siobhan Dunn said: " Stephen trusted us to spend the money well and to 'keep doing what we do' and this is reflected in our plans. However, Stephen has also allowed us to be more ambitious.

"Stephen's Story will help us reach some huge milestones for young people with cancer across the UK but we know that for every young person we can help, there's another we can't so there remains much more to do.

"Stephen's gift to a charity of our size is more than money - the awareness raised of cancer in young people and new supporters inspired by Stephen will be essential if we are to help every young person with cancer who needs us."

In an interview with BBC1's Breakfast programme, Mrs Sutton remembered her son as an "always positive" and adventurous child who excelled as a sportsman and musician.

Stephen had been able to put his hand to anything, Mrs Sutton said, reaching his initial target of £10,000 within three weeks and then deciding to raise the bar.

Asked what had led to his appeal going global, Mrs Sutton replied: "Despite what he was going through - he had got an illness that had been classed as incurable - he was still so positive about it.

"He wasn't thinking about himself, he wanted to raise as much money as possible to help people that were in the same situation as he was.

"He was making the most of every minute and he was sending that message out to people."


From Belfast Telegraph