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Mother's pride and pain for Stephen

The mother of a teenager who raised millions of pounds for a cancer charity has said her "heart is bursting with pride but breaking with pain" after he lost his three-and-a-half-year fight against the disease.

The death of 19-year-old Stephen Sutton also prompted countless tributes from political leaders, sports stars and celebrities who backed his campaign to help the Teenage Cancer Trust.

Stephen, from Burntwood, Staffordshire, died early today, three days after being re-admitted to hospital with breathing difficulties caused by a re-growth of his tumours.

As donations to Stephen's JustGiving page continued to rise, passing £3.3 million, his family thanked the hundreds of thousands of supporters who backed his social media campaign.

In a message posted on Facebook, his mother Jane wrote: "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.

"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."

Stephen, who was diagnosed with metastatic bowel cancer aged 15, was visited earlier this month at Birmingham's Queen Elizabeth Hospital by Prime Minister David Cameron.

Speaking to the media in Downing Street after hearing of Stephen's death, Mr Cameron said a "very, very bright light" had gone out.

Offering his deepest sympathies to Stephen's family and those who knew him, Mr Cameron said: "I can hardly think of anyone I've met with such a zest for life, and such a belief that you can get things done, and who wanted to live every minute.

"He was determined not to be cowed by it (cancer) and to make the most of every single moment on this Earth. I think that's why he created this phenomenon, not just here in the UK but right around the world, helped by social media."

The Facebook post written by Stephen's mother following her son's death was "shared" more than 120,000 times on the social media site within an hour of its publication.

During his fund-raising campaign, Stephen's Facebook page went from 16,000 "likes" to 989,000 in one month, attracting 200,000 new "likes" in the past two days alone.

Donations to the Teenage Cancer Trust via Stephen's fund-raising page - - saw an immediate spike in the hours after his death.

The Trust said in a statement: "We are humbled and hugely grateful for what Stephen achieved and continues to achieve for us.

"The thoughts of everyone here at Teenage Cancer Trust are with Stephen's family and friends."

Manford, who helped to champion Stephen's fundraising, paid tribute to the teenager as being "the most inspiring person I've ever met".

The comedian added: "He was an incredibly positive young man and a credit to his family, to Burntwood and to humanity itself.

"The reason we took to him so passionately was because he was better than us, he did something that none of us could even imagine doing.

"In his darkest hour he selflessly dedicated his final moments to raising millions of pounds for teenagers with cancer.

"Some of Stephen's words will stay with me and others forever and they are words to live by - 'life isn't measured in time, it's measured in achievements'.

"If that's true, Stephen, then you had a fulfilling life full of special moments and you will live long in the memory of thousands, if not millions, of people."

Deborah Alsina, chief executive of Bowel Cancer UK, which estimates that around 2,100 people under 50 are diagnosed with bowel cancer each year, described Stephen's death as "an absolute tragedy".

Ms Alsina said: "Stephen's story struck a chord with the nation, putting teenage cancer, and bowel cancer specifically, firmly in the public eye.

"He has undoubtedly created greater awareness in the public and the clinical community that bowel cancer can affect younger people too and for this we owe him such gratitude.

"In his memory, and in memory of so many other young bowel cancer patients whose lives are needlessly lost, we will continue to tirelessly campaign for bowel cancer to be ruled out first not last within the diagnostic process.

"We will also continue to raise awareness that whilst younger people's risk is thankfully low, you are, in fact, never too young to develop bowel cancer."


From Belfast Telegraph