Wednesday 14th January 2015

UK

Teenage Cancer Trust is encouraging people to feel the fear and do it anyway by jumping out of a plane this summer. The fundraiser is inspired by Stephen Sutton who captivated the world last year with his zest for life and incredibly positive spirit after being diagnosed with cancer at the age of 15. Stephen Story’s created the biggest single fundraiser in the charity’s history, raising over £5 million for young people with cancer.

Before he died, Stephen Sutton had set his heart on breaking the Guinness World Record for the greatest number of tandem parachute jumps in 24 hours. Unfortunately Stephen wasn’t able to make this a reality in the time he had left. At the request of his friends and family, Teenage Cancer Trust is taking this forward and organising a huge Guinness World Record breaking skydiving event this summer, called Skydive for Stephen.

Stephen’s mum Jane will be doing the jump too. Jane said: “Stephen’s love of life was amazing. He was adventurous, had no fear and lived his life with no regrets. I hope to do him proud by taking part in the skydive. So, if you want to do something exhilarating and help young people with cancer in Stephen’s memory, sign up for Skydive for Stephen – if I can do it then anyone can!”

Kate Collins, Director of Fundraising & Marketing at Teenage Cancer Trust said: “Stephen helped Teenage Cancer Trust reach some huge milestones for young people with cancer, but for every young person we can help, there’s another we can’t currently reach so we have a long way to go. We’re hoping Skydive for Stephen will smash the Guinness World Record, raise loads of money for young people with cancer and honour Stephen’s memory.”

To break the Guinness World Record for the ‘Most tandem parachute jumps in 24 hours in a single venue’, Teenage Cancer Trust needs at least 350 people to jump 10,000 feet on Friday 10 July 2015 at Hibaldstow Airfield in Lincolnshire. The current record stands at 281 jumps and was completed in Devon on 21 June 2014.

To be one of Stephen’s jumpers register online here or go to TeenageCancerTrust.org and search for Skydive for Stephen.

Around seven young people aged between 13 and 24 are diagnosed with cancer every day in the UK. Teenage Cancer Trust is the only charity dedicated to providing expert care and support from the moment they hear the word cancer. We treat them as young people first, cancer patients second and everything we do aims to improve their quality of life and chances of survival.

Update on how Stephen’s money is making a difference

The money inspired by Stephen Sutton has been invested into specialist cancer units, training and development for expert nursing and support staff, information services about cancer for young patients, and peer to peer support events across the country. An update on the most recent key investments from Stephen’s money is below:

  • The new unit at Queen’s Medical Centre in Nottingham is almost complete and set to open on 2 February 2015.
  • Scholarships will be awarded to students on specialised Teenage and Young Adult Cancer courses at Coventry University in September 2015.
  • The refurbished unit at Weston Park hospital in Sheffield is due to open in the Spring
  • The new unit at Southern General in Glasgow will also open in the Spring.
  • The new unit at Alder Hey in the Park in Liverpool is planned to be occupied in September 2015.
  • The money helped 158 young adults attend Teenage Cancer Trust’s annual Find Your Sense of Tumour conference in November 2014, with more being spent on travel costs for young people to attend the event over the next five years.

You can donate to Teenage Cancer Trust in a number of ways:

-ENDS-

Notes to editors

For press enquiries please contact michelle.saxby@teenagecancertrust.org or call 020 7612 0715.

About the skydive

Registration is £50 (non-refundable) and the charity is asking each participate to raise a minimum of £350 to cover the costs and a £215 donation to Teenage Cancer Trust. Every extra pound raised over the minimum will go straight to Teenage Cancer Trust.

To view the current record click here.

About Stephen Sutton and Teenage Cancer Trust

Stephen Sutton was a normal teenager who loved sport and music, when he was diagnosed with bowel cancer at 15. After a difficult diagnosis, Stephen was supported throughout his cancer by Teenage Cancer Trust and received his treatment in the charity’s three units in Birmingham as well as attending many of the charity’s peer to peer support events. Stephen had already raised half a million pounds for Teenage Cancer Trust when his health deteriorated and he posted what he thought was his “final Thumbs Up” on Facebook on 22 April 2014. That post received nearly 500,000 likes and over 76,000 shares as people responded to his incredible positivity and selflessness.

Comedian and long-term Teenage Cancer Trust supporter, Jason Manford, met Stephen at the charity’s Royal Albert Hall concert series in March. He was so moved by Stephen that he created the #ThumbsUpForStephen campaign on social media and vowed to take the fundraising to £1 million. Stephen’s Story captured the country’s heart, with thousands of people showing their support including many celebrities and even the Prime Minister. Before he died, Stephen was also awarded an MBE for his fundraising.

Stephen’s Story inspired the biggest single fundraiser in the charity’s history. To date, combining online, text and postal donations with the Gift Aid total, Stephen’s Story has raised £4,961,352 for Teenage Cancer Trust and this total continues to rise (scroll to the bottom of the JustGiving page for Gift Aid total).

The money was given through nearly 340,000 donations and will be spent on four key areas of Teenage Cancer Trust’s work. These include specialist cancer units, training and development for expert nursing and support staff, information services about cancer for young patients, and peer to peer support events. In partnership with Stephen’s family, Teenage Cancer Trust is also continuing the Stephen’s Story Fund so that those inspired by Stephen can continue to raise money for Teenage Cancer Trust in his name.