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Stephen's charity total hits £3.5m

Inspirational cancer charity fundraiser Stephen Sutton who died yesterday has now raised more than £3.5 million.

The death of the 19-year-old 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 yesterday, three days after being re-admitted to hospital with breathing difficulties caused by a re-growth of his tumours.

The donations to Stephen's JustGiving page have continued to rise - and have now passed £3.5 million.

In an interview with The Sun when he was well enough, the teenager said: "You only get one shot at life. I need to make every second count."

He added: "I'd much rather measure how long I've got left in terms of achievements, rather than time. How quickly the clock ticks is unimportant to me.

"What matters is raising awareness and raising money for the Teenage Cancer Trust."

Stephen's 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.''

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