London: Nineteen-year-old Stephen Sutton’s bucket list of 46 things he wanted to do before illness finally claims him has gone on to trigger a nationwide phenomenon.
People worldwide were inspired by the terminally ill cancer patient and donated money to the Teenage Cancer Trust, bringing the total to more than £2.58 million. Sutton’s aim was to raise £10,000 for the charity, but quickly broke through that target with the help of the fundraising website JustGiving.
On Stephen Sutton’s bucket list is visiting the ruins of Machu Picchu
As a result he decided to aim for £1 million, but soon his efforts went viral and become an Internet sensation.
Celebrities, including Simon Pegg, Steve Coogan, Rebecca Adlington, Stephen Fry and Russell Brand, chipped in to cross the £2m barrier.
That prompted JustGiving itself to donate £50,000 to mark the record Stephen has set. It tweeted: “Stephen we think you’re amazing. It’s been a privilege supporting your fundraising. You’ve now broken all fundraising records on JustGiving — so here is a special donation from JustGiving.”
The funds range from £5 to £20 from around 104,000 individuals.
Diagnosed with bowel cancer four years ago, Stephen’s condition is incurable. Stephen preferred not to despair but raise money for charity as part of a bucket-list of things to do before he died.
So far, he has skydived, bungee jumped, organised a fundraising football match and a flashmob, flown first class, got a tattoo, hugged an animal bigger than him, learnt to juggle, ridden a Segway and even found someone with more surgical scars than him, as part of the charity project.
On the pending list is a trip to the ruins of Machu Picchu in Peru, travel to Australia and dancing with carnival-goers in Brazil.
Last Tuesday, his health took a toll for the worse and he posted a picture on Facebook from his Birmingham hospital bed, giving a thumbs up: “I’ve done well to blag things as well as I have up till now, but unfortunately I think this is just one hurdle too far,” he posted.
Two days later, despite one of his lungs collapsing he was still alive. One Friday, he thought he had been a “goner”, but was “still fighting”. This update inspired many more donations.