100% Biker 182

100% Biker 182
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‘Inspirational’ is a word that is much over-used. But some people truly deserve that description, and Stephen Sutton was one.

Stephen came to most people’s attention late in his life, late in this case being just 19 years old. Diagnosed with terminal cancer in 2012, he drew up a bucket list of things he wanted to do. That list ranged from getting a tattoo, hugging an animal bigger than himself to raising £10,000 for the Teenage Cancer Trust. It was the latter that became his passion. When he passed the initial goal, he raised it and kept on raising it….

Stephen was a very bright and articulate young man; he knew that, however much money he raised, it wouldn’t save him, or even buy him time. With remarkable fortitude, he said, “I have all this motivation but not the time to use that. I look around and see other people and they’ve got loads of time, but they might not have the motivation. Well, they can’t give me their time, but I can try and give them some of my motivation.”

His cheerfulness and refusal to descend into self-pity was humbling – he could have given into anger that his illness was undiagnosed for 6 vital months, but that wasn’t in his nature. His positivity was inspiring; as well as raising money, he genuinely wanted to make the world a better and happier place. He organised a National Good Gestures Day in Birmingham, asking people to give hugs, handshakes and high-fives to everyone around them. He became a hero to many, including Andy Bennett and the guys at Hairy Bush Bike Builders who held their Bushwacked event in 2013 to raise money for the Teenage Cancer Trust. Stephen was the guest of honour and won more hearts with his ability to chat to anyone. The last thing that he wanted was for anyone to be sorry for him. That was, to him, a waste of time and he said, “I don’t see the point of measuring life in time. I would rather measure it in terms of what I actually achieve.”

When his fundraising reached £3 million he was immensely proud, but not because it brought him recognition. Helping others was his way of helping himself. Shortly before his death on 14th May, I was talking with Andy and it was clear just how much this – yes – inspirational young man had touched his life, as it did so many others. Andy said simply, “He smiled and lived every minute. He made a difference.” Bushwacked will be held again on 15th August, once more to raise money for the TCT and to honour a young man who achieved so much in such a short time. I urge you to support it and to celebrate a short life so very well lived.

Safe home, Stephen. Safe home.

-Blue

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