Thursday 14th May 2015
“12 months ago today, Stephen lost his 4-year battle with cancer at the age of 19. When he began his blog he always used to say this isn’t a sob story, this is Stephen’s story, so the last thing he would want us to be is sad. That’s why today, on the anniversary of his passing this is a time to remember and celebrate his life.
Last year, yellow ribbons adorned Burntwood (and beyond) as a mark of grief, love and unity. This year yellow ribbons are again being used to remember Stephen and for people to show how proud they are of his achievements. It is a great comfort to know that Stephen is always in the thoughts of so many people.
The tribute "thumbs up" moment today is so appropriate as Stephen made his trademark thumbs up sign a symbol of his positive attitude. That’s the image people remember, that gorgeous smile and the thumbs up.
Of course I miss Stephen, there’s an enormous void which he used to occupy. However, I’m so proud of everything he has achieved. He was inspirational, authentic and courageous and his message was so incredibly powerful and relevant to us all.
He inspired millions of people across the world to not only support his Facebook blog ‘Stephen’s Story’ and help him raise money for Teenage Cancer Trust - but encouraged people to take a fresh look at their own lives. His enthusiasm and positive outlook on life gave people the push to start living.
Stephen’s legacy is: ‘We can do it; we can raise that money; we all can inspire others to give and we can all make a difference’.
After receiving the news in January 2013 that his cancer was incurable, Stephen created his now infamous ‘bucket list’ of 46 things he wanted to achieve before he died. Top of his list was to raise £10,000 for Teenage Cancer Trust - a charity Stephen was passionate about as it had supported him throughout his treatment and care.
Well Stephen, you spectacularly under estimated how much you would go on to raise!!!
Regrettably every day, 7 young people aged between 13 & 24 are diagnosed with cancer in the UK. Teenage Cancer Trust is the only UK charity dedicated to improving the quality of life and chances of survival of these young people, relying solely on donations to fund its vital work.
However, the harsh reality is that Teenage Cancer Trust currently only has the resources to help one in every two young people diagnosed with cancer in the UK.
Its vision is that by 2020, every young person with cancer in the UK will have access to the charity’s expert support from the moment they hear the word cancer. To achieve this, Teenage Cancer Trust need to raise over £80 million in the next 5 years to support current and new services.
For this reason, I will continue to work alongside Teenage Cancer Trust, continue to fundraise for the charity and ensure that the projects funded by the money raised by ‘Stephen’s Story’ and agreed between Stephen and Teenage Cancer Trust before he passed away, come to fruition.
The refurbishment of existing Teenage Cancer Trust units and opening of new units in Glasgow and Liverpool, partly funded by the money raised through Stephen’s Story, is key to improving the quality of life for young people diagnosed with cancer now and in future years.
Stephen touched the hearts of millions of people. His influence continues to impact on the daily lives of so many and I have been touched by the thousands of fundraising events that have been organised and are planned across the country in support of Teenage Cancer Trust.
Stephen showed us how incredibly powerful even very small positive acts can be when lots of people get involved. Every pound raised through these fundraising events will help Teenage Cancer Trust achieve its vision of supporting every young person diagnosed with cancer by 2020.
To say I have been overwhelmed by the outpouring of generosity, love, kindness and warmth towards me, my son Christopher and my family, from people across the globe, is a huge understatement.
My family and network of friends have been incredibly supportive and without whom the last five years would have been even more stressful and demanding.”