Dying teenager Stephen Sutton’s today gave thanks for the "breathtaking" response to his charity appeal, as donations smashed through the £1million mark.
The amazing show of support came after the Staffordshire lad, battling incurable cancer, posted a last picture of himself in hospital with a ‘final thumbs up’.
In a heartbreaking message to followers around the world he said: “Cancer sucks, but life has been brilliant.”
It sparked a massive appeal with tens of thousands supporting him by donating money to his cause - at one point last night £20,000 an hour was being donated on his JustGiving page.
This morning it had received 25,000 donations and a running total of £843,000 - with the figure rising hundreds of pounds every minute (click here to see the latest total).
It hit £1m just after 11am. Moments earlier, comedian Jason Manford gave this update
Have spoke with Stephen’s Dad on text and Stephen has seen our efforts and is massively grateful. The guy is a legend!— JasonManford (@JasonManford) April 23, 2014
Then, Stephen himself took to Twitter:
I have just saw the latest fundraising total http://t.co/uklmWvSmmO— Stephen's Story (@_StephensStory) April 23, 2014
But seriously... Wow. Just wow. Thank you all so much :)— Stephen's Story (@_StephensStory) April 23, 2014
The whole situation is just breathtaking in many ways!!— Stephen's Story (@_StephensStory) April 23, 2014
On Tuesday, Stephen took to Facebook to post this update:
Celebrities including Stan Collymore, Piers Morgan and Clare Balding tweeted their support and urged others to get behind the cause.
Manford, who recently met Stephen at a charity event, pledged £10,000.
He said today: “One dying boy wished for one magnificent thing, not for himself but for the benefit of hundreds of other children, and we, even in our little way, have been able to help.
“Goodnight God bless Stephen Sutton, sleep peacefully knowing that you made a difference. I will remember you every time I catch myself taking life for granted, I I will think of you. It was an honour to have met you, you superb boy.”
Jimmy Carr, who also previously met Stephen, tweeted: “It’s Stephen’s last day & he’s got a last wish to raise £1 million for the Teenage Cancer Trust. Text STEPHEN TO 70500 to donate £5 or to justgiving.com/Stephen-Sutton.”
Stephen made it his mission to raise £1 million for charity, having smashed his original £10,000 target months ago.
Support for Stephen flooded in on Twitter:
The 19-year-old, from Burntwood, caught the public’s imagination with his ‘bucket list’ of 46 things to do before he dies.
His list included hugging an animal bigger than him (which he achieved with an elephant), giving a speech at the House of Commons and playing the drums in front of 90,000 , which he achieved at the Champions League final. He posted poignant messages on his Facebook page following his latest health setback - including a photograph of him in hospital giving his ‘final’ thumbs up.
He said: “It’s a final thumbs up from me! 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. It’s a shame the end has come so suddenly- there’s so many people I haven’t got round to properly thank or say goodbye too. Apologies for that.
“There was also so many exciting projects and things I didn’t get to see out. Hopefully some will continue and if you want to carry on the fundraising please do."
He added: “All future updates on this page will probably be from a family member. I hopefully may have the energy to write a few tweets (@_StephensStory). 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.”
The teenager has been suffering breathing problems which were initially thought to be unconnected to the cancer in his leg and pelvis. He has more than half a dozen tumours as well as lymphoedema and a blood clot all in left leg. Donate to Stephen's cause here.
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