A BASINGSTOKE-based television production company has played a key role in a documentary about a teenage cancer sufferer who has inspired thousands of people with his positive messages.
Stephen Sutton, who was diagnosed with terminal bowel cancer at 15, hit national headlines after posting what he thought would be his last blog – a ‘thumbs-up farewell’ photo, that went viral.
The now 19-year-old, from Staffordshire, set up a fundraising page for The Teenage Cancer Trust, which has so far raised an incredible £3.1million, and has been supported by various celebrities, including comedian Jason Manford, who staged a charity gig in aid of the campaign. Prime Minister David Cameron went to visit Stephen last Friday in his own show of support.
Mediakinetic, a television production company, based in Chineham, has helped the inspirational teenager to make his wish come true by sharing his story with thousands of people.
Lindsay Barker, managing director of the company, said: “We first got involved with Stephen’s Story when our client, Make-A-Wish Foundation UK, came to us and asked us to make a short documentary about Stephen’s amazing fundraising achievements and his positive messages about living life to its fullest.
“Make-A-Wish grant magical wishes for children and young people with life-threatening illnesses and Stephen’s wish was to share his story through a short film and to spread his positivity.”
The company met Stephen in February and began filming in March.
Mrs Barker said of Stephen: “He’s an intelligent, articulate young person, wise beyond his years. His drive and passion to make the most out of his time is simply astounding.”
She added: “He hasn’t asked how long he has left to live. He measures his life in terms of achievements rather than the time he has left, and encourages others to live fulfilling lives.”
When Mrs Barker and her team began working with Stephen, his fundraising total was just over £500,000 and he had set himself a new target of £1m.
Mediakinetic filmed with Stephen’s family and friends, and Mrs Barker said: “Each had incredible stories of Stephen’s outlook on life and his passionate message filled with positivity. It was clear he had affected a community and was already a local celebrity on the brink of national recognition.”
His final film was due to be released on April 29 – World Wish Day – to celebrate the work of Make-A-Wish International.
But between finalising the film and the release date, Stephen’s condition took a dramatic turn for the worse.
He was taken into hospital, and it was here that the nation finally heard of his story, after he posted his final thumbs-up picture on Facebook.
Celebrities and the public took to Twitter to help Stephen reach his fundraising target, which hit £3m in just over a week.
On the Friday of the same week, Stephen and Make-A-Wish Foundation UK decided to release the film early in order to fulfil Stephen’s wish. It was uploaded to YouTube, and has so far had more than 400,000 hits.
Mrs Barker said: “We feel privileged and humbled to have been involved in helping to tell Stephen’s story in some small way. It was Stephen’s wish that as many people as possible share his film.
“His message is to live life to its fullest and take nothing for granted. Please take a few life-changing moments to watch his story, When life gives you cancer, and share it with others.”
Since the release of the video, Stephen was discharged from hospital after coughing up a tumour. However, Stephen's family announced on Monday evening that his health has now "deteriorated" to a point where he can no longer communicate.
- You can watch the video below To donate to Stephen’s campaign, visit justgiving.com/stephen-sutton-tct.