I was a normal kid – I did well at school, had ambitions of becoming a doctor, played lots of sports and played drums in a local band. Like anyone else my age, I liked socializing and going out with friends.
Then in 2010, when I was 15, I was diagnosed with stage 3B colorectal cancer. After 6 months of crippling symptoms I underwent a hemicolectomy to remove a tumour from my bowel, then had 6 months of chemotherapy. The treatment had all kinds of side effects but throughout it I was determined not to let the treatment and diagnosis get on top of me.
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In the summer of 2011 I thankfully found myself in remission. However in October I found a lump in my leg, and in December it was confirmed my cancer had returned. I underwent surgery to remove the tumour and 30 sessions of radiotherapy. I remained positive and pragmatic throughout and, despite the emotional toll and physical hindrances, I kept up with my studies and at the end of year 12 got an A* in A level Maths, As in AS biology, chemistry and physics, and an A in self-taught AS Psychology. The following summer I had some more scan results and it was confirmed the tumour in my leg had again returned. I had a new regime of chemotherapy and, after 3 months of brutal symptoms caused by the treatment, scans showed the tumour had continued to increase in size. I was then told the cancer had spread to my pelvis. Since this point I’ve undergone more surgery and chemotherapy, but my cancer has continued to grow and spread. I am currently due to undergo a transpelvic amputation.
Despite all this I remain positive, and determined to leave my mark on the world. In January 2013 I decided to share my life and outlook with the whole world, starting off by making a Facebook page called Stephen’s story. I’ve raised over £160,000 so far, through events ranging from charity quizzes, to a skydive to dinner parties. I think there should be some fun in fundraising, and I always encourage people to try something new.
Stephen’s Story has expanded to other forms of social media including Twitter, Tumblr and Instagram. I’ve now acquired over 12,500 dedicated Facebook fans and over 16,000 followers on Twitter, and I hope to inspire people with motivational quotes, humour and positivity.