Stephen Sutton, a terminally ill 19-year-old, received a boost last night when his charity fundraising bid edged closer to £3 million. This is almost three times his initial target of £1 million.
The news was received by the young man shortly after he started breathing unaided after a surprising improvement in his condition.
Stephen started fundraising for the Teenage Cancer Trust charity and initially targeted £10,000. He revised this figure to £1 million after millions of people were touched by his final Facebook blog which thanked donors and followers.
He has received many celebrity tributes, including one from the TV comedian, Jason Manford, who paid tribute to the Trust by bringing forward his contributing May 10 gig. The gig sold out within four minutes.
Stephen said that after his lung collapsed and he stopped breathing, he was too ill to carry on. The heartbreaking message he posted was attached to a photograph of him in his hospital bed, giving everyone a thumbs-up, which has now become his trademark sign.
This last post by Stephen was boosted by a flood of cash after Jason Manford started a social media campaign, Thumbs Up For Stephen, with help from other celebrities. Several other celebrities joined Jason Manford in the fundraising efforts, including Roger Daltrey, the front man for the Who, and actors Stephen Fry, Simon Pegg and Benedict Cumberbatch.
Manford also managed to pull in other comedians, such as Russell Brand, Bill Bailey and Alan Davies, along with chef, Raymond Blanc, and Olympian Sir Chris Hoy.
Simon Cowell has pledged that he would make a ‘significant’ donation to this campaign.
At this point Stephen had managed to raise £570,000, but the funds soon started coming in at around £400,000 a day.
Jason Manford announced on Friday that his May 10 gig at Birmingham Player’s Bar would be pulled forward to Sunday.
By the time this gig ended, the total amount donated stood at £2,883,691.38 and is currently over £3million.
Stephen was diagnosed with colorectal cancer when he was 15 years of age, however after the tumour was removed, it returned and spread to his groin, knee and lungs. He was admitted to Birmingham’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital on Easter Sunday where his parents, Andrew and Jane and his stepfather Tony Gallagher, have remained with him.
The young man had drawn up a bucket list containing 46 achievements to complete before his death. This included skydiving, watching a football match at Wembley and making a bungee jump. However, since he still has 10 items left on his left, he decided that he would fundraise instead. The total that he has managed to raise on the Just Giving webpage has broken all records at the donation site.
His older brother, Chris, said that the high level of support may have bought more time for Stephen to spend with his family. He said they thought Stephen would die last week and he described the improvement in his condition as ‘incredible’. He said that the support definitely affected Stephen’s condition. He said that Stephen is not out of the woods yet, but they have been amazed by the constant improvement.
After the warning that he was facing the ‘final hurdle’ on Tuesday, the improvement Stephen encountered allowed him to update his Facebook on Thursday by stating, ‘genuinely thought I was a goner… hey, I’m still here!!’
Yesterday, he said that his condition had improved further when he coughed up a tumour. He described this event as the most ‘bizarre, but fortunate twist.’ Stephen added that he was breathing unaided and feeling fantastic. He said that the doctors discussed what had happened and came to the conclusion that he literally coughed up a tumour. He said that the growth had restricted his lung which had collapsed.
Image Credit: Stephen Sutton