When you are faced with the knowledge that you will not grow old, have children of your own, or see your next birthday, life takes on a totally different meaning. There is no more procrastination possible – you can choose to curl up and disappear quietly or you can step up and make the most of your time left.
When I first met Stephen Sutton I knew of his fight with cancer that was now terminal, the fact he didn’t know or want to know how long he had left, his 46 item bucket list including a target of raising 10k for Teenage Cancer Trust, but I didn’t know him. In a very short amount of time fitted in around his awards ceremonies, documentaries and family life, I had the pleasure to help him spread his word.
I brought him along to the Professional Speaking Association. Why? Simply because I believed and still do believe we all need to hear his message and I knew as an association we could help him spread his word in whatever time he had available. As a result of that, along with a great friend of mine Chris Cooper, we organised an interview entitled ‘No More Procrastination’, to be hosted on Chris’s online radio show on Voice America. With my focus on productivity and Chris’s on accountability there would be a great balance for bringing Stephen’s story on taking action, continuously giving and never ever giving up.
During the planning for the interview I asked Stephen, bearing in mind this is a predominantly US audience, if there was anything further that he would love people to arrange, coordinate or make happen for him. His answer was so humble and authentic as he simply said, â€œThere is nothing I need or want, everything is about getting more for the charity and helping fight cancerâ€. He has no focus on leaving a legacy, I know he already has within me, his line â€œCancer Sucks but Life is Greatâ€ will stay with me forever.
Everything changed – the week after completing the interview Stephens’s health took a dramatic downward turn and this was when the magic of others took over. He posted what he thought could well be his last post along with a picture from his hospital bed trying to give two thumbs up, knowing everything was slipping away.
At this point his school friends, community, acquaintances, random strangers and a handful of celebrities created a social media snowball and the viral stage of Stephen’s Story went wild. When I first met with Stephen he had raised over Â£550k and had then decided to increase his target from the original Â£10k to Â£125k to an astounding Â£1m. In less than 24 hours from going viral Stephen had broken the Â£1m target – while he was fighting to stay alive there was a media storm across the UK and around the globe with strangers inspired by his story donating anything they felt able to donate.
Where are we now – Stephen is still alive, just, the interview was probably his last and was aired the day his fund raising triumphs hit Â£2m â€“ the running total is now in excess of Â£3m. Have a listen to his words on the interview, there are some amazing SoundBits in there that you really should absorb and take note of. No more procrastination is a challenge for us all, but if you live life the way Stephen does you can have an amazing journey and have a positive impact on people all over the world.
Look into Stephen’s Story on Facebook as well – the last 15 months of his life since being diagnosed with incurable cancer are a lesson in how to get up and get on with it. Productivity can be improved in many areas of our lives â€“ the work life balance and having work rest and play is so important to having a full life. Stephen has lived and achieved more in his short amount of time than most can in a full lifetime. Remember â€œCancer Sucks but Life is Greatâ€ Thank you Stephen.