I was going to start this post by acknowledging that I rarely write about topics on 30 Dates that aren’t Dating or Relationship-related, but actually the more I think about the post I want to write this evening, the more I realise it relates to everyone, and every aspect of our lives.
I have no doubt that many similar posts will be written in the coming days, as the British nation mourns Stephen Sutton, an incredible 19 year-old who inspired the world from his hospital bed. In spite of being diagnosed with bowel cancer at the age of just fifteen, Sutton went on to raise over £3 million pounds for the Teenage Cancer Trust, a figure which has continued to grow as news of his death spreads.
A simple Post-It left on a wall of remembrance by a student at Stephen’s former school says it all –
‘After hearing your story I have changed the way I think of life and how I should use my time!’
A message which made its way around the world, as we read Stephen’s inspiring posts on Twitter and Facebook, and saw the various images of Stephen in a hospital bed, breathing through a respirator, with his thumbs held high in the air.
Like far too many people in this world, I know first hand how cancer can rip families apart, but you shouldn’t have to experience it that way to understand Stephen’s legacy.
This is a boy who found out he had cancer, and wrote himself an incredible bucket list. A boy whose message captured the hearts, and wallets, of hundreds of thousands of people all over the world, bringing more attention to a tiny British charity, than any advertising campaign.
He may have been dying, but he never gave up, And the posts written by him in his final days show no anger or resentment for his situation. He died content and happy with all he achieved – and rightly so.
The harsh reality of life is that you never know what it will throw at you. And there are two ways of dealing with it. You can either sit back, and play the victim, and let life get the better of you, or you can go out fighting, which is exactly what Stephen Sutton did.
His face will be on the cover of every national newspaper this morning – a true British hero – but when those papers become tomorrow’s rubbish, we need to ensure his legacy lives on, and that we all learn lessons from his short life.
You CAN change the world. You might not think it, but you can.
You CAN achieve anything you want to, no matter what physical state you’re in.
Mind over matter. You simply have to put your mind to it.
If you’re still doubting those statements, do a Google search of ‘cancer patient, marathon runner’ or something similar!
Many of Stephen’s messages over the past month have been sent from a hospital bed, on occasions where the effort of simply Tweeting became too much. And yet those messages have travelled the world, and been shared by some of Britain’s most prolific and influential celebrities.
One boy did that. One boy with a life sentence he did nothing to deserve.
Like the hundreds of thousands of people touched by the inspirational photos and messages, my heart goes out to Stephen’s family and friends.
As the tagline on the Stephen’s Story Facebook page says so accurately ‘This is not a sob story, this is Stephen’s story’, and it was, and will continue to be an incredible one. His family and friends should be incredibly proud.
And the rest of us should be inspired.
Miss Twenty-Nine xxx