Thumbs up to Stephen Sutton – our influencer of the week
When Stephen Sutton posted an update message on his Facebook page a few days ago, few people could have anticipated the incredible response it would receive.
Teenager Stephen has been battling bowel cancer since he was 15. His illness is terminal, and his Facebook post suggested his condition had deteriorated in recent days. He accompanied the update with a positive “thumbs up” picture.
Stephen had originally set a target of raising £10,000 for the Teenage Cancer Trust. It was a target he easily surpassed, so he set an ambitious new goal of £1 million.
By the time of his now-famous Facebook post, he was still a few hundred grand short of that target, but within hours his message had been shared thousands of times across social media.
The #ThumbsUpForStephen hashtag was quickly trending, media outlets around the world picked up on the story, and the donations flooded in.
Celebs from Piers Morgan to Jason Manford, Steve Coogan to Sir Chris Hoy, sent messages of support – and donations – and urged others to donate to Stephen’s fund. People responded immediately, and media reports say more than £1,000 a minute was being donated.
By Tuesday night, the fundraising total had hit the £1m landmark, and within 24 hours the media was announcing it had broken through £1.5m. Newspapers confirmed the £2m barrier was reached yesterday, prompting Stephen to tweet “Wow. Just wow.”
The Teenage Cancer Trust confirmed it’s the biggest single donation they have ever received.
The story has been one of the most shared across news outlets this week, and Facebook and Twitter have been swamped with posts.
As a result, more than £1.5m was raised for the charity inside 72 hours – all started by a Facebook post from a terminally ill teenager.
Stephen will also have given a huge PR boost to the organisers of Bowel Cancer Awareness Month, which comes to an end in a few days.
All in all, it’s perhaps the most positively influential Facebook post there’s been in a very long time.