Roy Exum: Stephen’s Farewell Blog

Saturday, May 17, 2014 - by Roy Exum
Roy Exum
Roy Exum

Stephen Sutton, a plucky 19-year-old who roared back at stage 3 colorectal cancer in a way that endeared him to the world and allowed him to single-handedly raise over $5.5 million in donations for the Teenage Cancer Trust in the United Kingdom, has died as he slept on Wednesday. Over 135,000 people around the world contributed to the fund after getting caught up in his remarkably uplifting story.

Diagnosed at age 15, Sutton’s incredible attitude made him captivating to adoring legions who had followed his blog. In a recent interview he said, “I am so lucky and so fortunate to be here. My cancer has taught me a lot about life. All the clichés – not taking life for granted, blah, blah, blah. But being so close to death just reinforced all those feelings about making the most of what we've got."

British Prime Minister David Cameron, speaking for a grieving nation, told reporters on Thursday, “Stephen was determined not to waste a minute, not to waste an hour or a day," he said. "I can hardly think of anyone I have met with such a zest for life, with such a belief that you can get things done, and who wanted to live every minute. He was absolutely inspiring, he did extraordinary things for charity, and meeting him was a huge privilege."

Stephen’s plan was simple. “I’ve been through a lot these past couple of years, but more significantly I’ve learned a lot. I’ve learnt to laugh through my illness, to stay positive and to keep on doing the things I’ve always wanted. I’ve got cancer, nothing can change that, that’s life, and it’s probably unfair. From my point of view the only thing I can change is how I respond to it. My cancer does not define me, but how I react to my cancer does: so why not try and react in the best way possible?

“I haven’t asked how long I’ve got left because I don’t see the point in measuring the worthiness of your life in terms of time, but rather you should measure in terms of what you achieve,” he said after filling two-thirds of a hysterical ‘bucket list’ where the original goal was to raise $10,000 for cancer research. “So my goal is to achieve as much as possible with however long I have left, while still remaining a normal teenager trying to enjoy things."

With that said, allow me to share Stephen Sutton’s final blog that appeared with a picture of him, grinning with thumbs up, on his Facebook page:

* * *

FROM “STEPHEN’S STORY – His Final Blog:

“It's a final thumbs up from me! I've done well to blog 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 to. Apologies for that.

“There were 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 (justgiving.com/stephen-sutton-TCT is the link to donate to.)

“All future updates on this page will probably be from a family member. I hopefully may have the energy to write a few tweets. I’ll continue fighting for as long as I can, and whatever happens next I want all to know I am currently in a good place mentally and at ease with the situation.

“That’s it from me. But life has been good. Very good.

“Thank you to my mum and the rest of my family for everything. Thank you to my friends for being amazing. Thank you to my medical team for the hard work and effort they have continually put towards me. And thank you everyone else for sharing this wonderful journey with me.

“I love you all. X”

royexum@aol.com



Thank You District Five Residents

Dear Residents of District Five, Thank you for affording me the opportunity to represent you for nine years as a member of the Hamilton County School Board. The goal of educating of our children must be one of our greatest priorities. I look forward to working with our new school board member and members of the community to help our young men and women succeed in school ... (click for more)

Shine The Light On IDB Board Members

The recent news that IDB member Chris Ramsey is not a city resident makes me wonder what kind of accountability do these people have to the taxpayers? I've posed the question before: Who is on the board? Since it is such a mystery as to who is on the board and whether they are even legitimately qualified to sit on the board, how can they be trusted to handle millions of taxpayer ... (click for more)

Rhasean Lowry, 34, Charged In Death of 3-Year-Old Girl

Rhasean Lowry, 34, was arrested for abusing a three-year-old girl, and then criminal homicide after she died. Last Tuesday, the Chattanooga Police Department was called on a suspected child abuse case. Lowry took the victim to a local hospital and he stated the victim fell down steps. Doctors advised that the victim’s injuries were the result of blunt force trauma consistent ... (click for more)

City IDB Member Who Made Motion For $9 Million Black Creek TIF Had Not Lived In City For Years

A City Industrial Development Board (IDB) member who made the motion to approve a controversial $9 million Black Creek Tax Increment Financing (TIF) had not lived in the city for years, City Attorney Wade Hinton confirmed. Chris Ramsey, a BlueCross BlueShield official, was not present at an IDB meeting on Tuesday morning. Five other board members were. Citizen Helen Burns ... (click for more)

Silverdale Dishes Out 3-1 District 5-A Volleyball Victory

Silverdale Baptist Academy’s volleyball team served up a four-set victory over District 5-A rival Chattanooga Schools for the Arts and Sciences on Tuesday. The Lady Seahawks got a combined 17 service aces from Molly Rumfelt and Caroline Couch and posted a 3-1 win over the Lady Patriots at Silverdale. The set scores were 25-15, 25-18, 22-25, 25-11. Rumfelt, the only senior ... (click for more)

Uninspired Ooltewah Sweeps Soddy Daisy In Key 5-AAA Match

It's a real challenge for a high school volleyball team to get up emotionally and physically to play the same team two matches in a row, especially when the first one was somewhat lopsided. But that was what the Ooltewah Lady Owls had to do Tuesday evening when they visited District 5-AAA rival Soddy Daisy. Ooltewah improved to 12-2 overall and 4-0 in 5-AAA with the three-set ... (click for more)