Stephen Sutton is dying.
One could concede the 19-year-old — diagnosed with incurable colorectal cancer four years ago — is due some bouts of bitterness over his condition at such a young age.
But that’s never been the British teen’s stance since he started sharing his story on the Internet.
So after being told last year his condition was inoperable, Sutton didn’t retreat into resentment; instead he gratefully grabbed life by the throat, creating for himself an ambitious bucket list.
And as you might expect, a number of fun items have been crossed off.
He went skydiving:
He crowdsurfed in an inflatable boat:
And even played drums in front of an audience of 100,000 at Wembley:
But the top spot on his list of 46 final to-do goals was to raise 10,000 pounds for the Teenage Cancer Trust.
Turns out that was a little too easy, which prompted Sutton to declare on his JustGiving page: “I think it’s fair to say we’ve smashed that total!!! But why stop there?! With everyone’s help we currently have a platform to achieve something truly special, so I have upped the new target to ONE MILLION — yes, one million — pounds!!!”
Sutton’s tenaciously positive spirit attracted an avalanche of support for his cause; and it seemed that as his physical condition deteriorated, the number of people contributing financially only increased.
Then on Monday Sutton became short of breath and was taken to a hospital in an ambulance. Tumors had caused his right lung to collapse, and he was placed permanently on oxygen and unable to get out of his hospital bed.
Sutton posted “a final thumbs up” Facebook message Tuesday, sensing his end was near.
“I will continue fighting for as long as I can, and whatever happens next I want you all to know I am currently in a good place mentally and at ease with the situation.
“That’s it from me. But life has been good. Very good.”
Along with the following photograph:
With luminaries backing him — Piers Morgan tweeted, “What a remarkable, inspiring, courageous young man … please help him achieve his total” — by Wednesday morning Sutton’s goal to raise 1 million pounds was eclipsed, Sky News reported.
And the total continues to grow, nearing the 1.2 million pounds mark as of Wednesday morning.
Sutton even gamely cranked out a few Twitter posts Wednesday in celebration:
To the final hour, Sutton has remained grateful, noting on his Facebook page, “I just want to say thank you all for sharing the journey with me — it’s been wonderful…Cancer sucks, but life has been brilliant.”