Not letting a diagnosis of incurable cancer stop him, a courageous teenager from Burntwood is celebrating the success of his ‘Good Gesture Day’, showing those who took part that positivity is indeed contagious.
For his Fixers campaign, Stephen Sutton (18) and his team of 31 came up with the idea of offering hugs, handshakes, fist pumps and high-fives in Birmingham’s Victoria Square on Saturday 9th November to help brighten people’s day.
The Fixer was diagnosed with bowel cancer when he was 15, and underwent surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy. After being in remission twice, he found out last year the cancer had returned and was no longer treatable.
Not knowing how long he has to live, Stephen is determined to make the most of the time he has left.
By holding events like this Fix, he says he hopes to keep himself happy by making other people happy.
‘Hearing I had cancer was like a hammer blow. There are days when I could just stay in bed.
'But I always say “don’t stop when you’re tired, stop when you’re finished”.
'My advice to others going through cancer is the good days can make you feel like the bad days never existed.
‘It’s events like this that keep me going. The best part was seeing the reaction of people being genuinely uplifted by it. Days like these make you remember how fantastic life is.'
Fellow Fixer Jess Beedle, who doled out hugs at the event, met Stephen through the Teenage Cancer Trust after being treated for a form of the disease herself.
‘We call each other “cancer friends”,’ she says. ‘He’s such an inspiring guy and I’ve never heard him complain once.
‘The event has been an overwhelming success.’
Tyrone (30) from West Bromwich was a passer-by at the event.
‘At first I thought it was a bit of a laugh when someone came up to me offering a ‘free hug’, but now knowing Stephen’s story, it’s fantastically heart-warming,’ he said.
‘He’s a true inspiration.’
For more information on Stephen’s story, visit his Facebook page.
Scroll down for more photos from the ‘Good Gesture Day’ in Birmingham and watch the film about the event at the top of the page.
Fixer Stephen Sutton fist bumping with a police officer
The 'high-five' Fixers getting everybody involved
A Fixer brightening up people's day with free hugs