Donations to the Teenage Cancer Trust made in connection with Stephen Sutton, the 19-year-old who died from bowel cancer earlier this year, have reached £5m, according to the charity.
Almost 340,000 donations were made by text, post and online in response to the Stephen’s Story campaign, which Sutton launched himself as part of a wish list of activities he wanted to complete before he died. The £5m figure includes Gift Aid.
According to the charity, £2.9m of the funds raised will be invested in specialist cancer units in Edinburgh, Glasgow, London, Liverpool, Oxford, Nottingham and Sheffield. A total of £1.2m will be invested in research and in training the professionals who work with teenagers and young adults who have cancer.
A further £500,000 will go towards information services about cancer for young patients, and the remaining £200,000 will be used finance the travel costs of patients wanting to attend Find Your Sense of Tumour, the trust’s weekend conference for young people with cancer.
"Stephen trusted us to spend the money well and to keep doing what we do, and this is reflected in our plans," said Siobhan Dunn, chief executive of the Teenage Cancer Trust. "However, Stephen has also allowed us to be more ambitious and we will do more in the next five years than ever before. We wanted to make sure that everyone who has been inspired by Stephen can continue to fundraise in his name."
The charity plans to continue raising money through the Stephen’s Story Fund in partnership with Sutton’s family.
Sutton, who was diagnosed with bowel cancer aged 15, began raising money for the Teenage Cancer Trust as part of a "bucket list" posted on Facebook that included activities such as crowdsurfing in a rubber dinghy at a gig, hugging an elephant and meeting the comedian Jimmy Carr.
He initially aimed to raise £10,000 for the charity, but later revised the target to £1m after a surge of donations occurred on his JustGiving fundraising page. The amount raised reached £1.5m in April, a month before Sutton’s death in May.
Before Sutton’s campaign, the Teenage Cancer Trust raised about £12m per year.