Cancer patient and charity worker, 23, reveals how Stephen Sutton inspired a generation of young sufferers

Cancer sufferer Sadie France speaks of her heartache upon hearing the news Stephen Sutton had died, and how he inspired a generation of young people living with the disease.

Sadie France 3

by Ellie Hooper |
Published on

When I heard the news that Stephen Sutton had passed away I was just minutes away from making a speech for cancer charity Teens Unite in London. I wanted to break down and cry so much but I had to concentrate on the task in hand - I knew Stephen would have wanted me to make the speech being the happy, positive person I am.

But on the way home, I cried and cried. Despite never meeting Stephen, I felt like I knew him. After all, we had a great deal in common.

In September 2013, despite only being 23-years-old, I was told I had stage 4 Ovarian cancer - and that I only have one to two years left to live.

Stephen Sutton was an inspiration to hundreds of teenagers

Being told that you have cancer gives you a feeling that you can't describe; emotions that you have never felt or knew existed. It's like all bad feelings and emotions thrown in to one. To see your mum, dad, brother and boyfriend hurting and crying so much, when you're the one that is causing that to happen is just too painful to bear.

But a switch flicked in my head that day too. Before cancer, I was a positive, happy and bubbly person - but I have become even more so since my diagnosis. I thought how dare cancer come along now and shorten my life.

I haven't done all the travelling I want to, I haven't got married or bought my first house, had kids or even a career. I'm not ready for it to be over.

After three rounds of chemotherapy, my tumour (which was originally the size of a melon) has shrunk so much that they managed to operate - which they thought would never be an option.

This year I had an operation to remove it, but as I woke up and realised the surgery had taken 7 hours less than it should have, I knew something hadn't gone to plan.

According to doctors my tumours (on my heart, lungs, diaphragm, liver, bowel and pelvis) had stuck themselves to my other organs and couldn't be removed without causing extensive damage to me.

But despite this, I am still having chemo which is working for me and I can feel myself getting better everyday.

Life is unpredictable with cancer. You can plan things but I never know if I'll actually be able to do them. I take things one day at a time. I read that if you give yourself a big smile as soon as you wake up - you'll be happy for the whole day, and so I do this every morning. I surround myself with people I love and people that make me happy.

Every day, seven young people are told they have cancer. Stephen Sutton has raised a huge amount of awareness for all the youngsters around the world living with cancer and we will be forever indebted to him for this.

It is incredibly sad and unfair that such an amazing young man has lost his life - but the world is a better place for him being in it; even for such a short time.

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