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A cough and tumour's out

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

LAST week it seemed the cancer had finally got the better of "bucket list" teen Stephen Sutton.

The 19-year-old, who won hearts — and more than 400,000 Facebook fans — after setting up a list of 46 things he wanted to do before he died, said he thought he was a "goner" after suffering a collapsed lung days ago.

But yesterday morning his disease took an amazing twist after he "coughed up a tumour".

Describing the last week as "pretty unbelievable", Stephen told his Facebook followers the whole story in confronting detail: "The coughing increased and then suddenly the shortness of breath became incredibly severe. Among frantic hand pointing and panicking I felt like I was like suffocating. Then I forced out an oval red stained solid object through my mouth. My breathing and airway straight away felt clearer, but I spent the next hour violently coughing and choking, but then eventually my breathing once again stabilised."

His post continued: "Since then, my breathing has dramatically improved. I'm really stuck for the words of how to describe it. Throughout the night my throat was pretty sore but my 02 and other saturation levels are great. This morning I am relying on NO external oxygen to breath at all and I'm feeling bloody fantastic!!

"The doctors have discussed what's happened and the only plausible conclusion is that I've literally coughed up a tumour."

Mr Sutton was just 15 when he was diagnosed with bowel cancer. He underwent surgery but the cancer was aggressive and spread to different parts of his body. Many doctors and operations later, his disease was declared incurable.

So he decided to make the most of the time he had left, setting up the bucket list in tandem with a campaign to raise money for the Teenage Cancer Trust.

His list included things like hugging an elephant, crowd-surfing in a rubber dinghy, playing the drums at a Wembley cup final, getting a tattoo and appearing on BBC drama Doctors.

His initial target of raising $A18,000 ($F30,608) was quickly smashed by the huge number of public donations that flowed in from all over the world as people read about his cause. But since his post went up about expelling his tumour, donations have surged and the tally is now nudging $A5.4 million ($F9.8m).

The teen also has enjoyed support from British celebrities including actors Steve Coogan, James Nesbitt and Benedict Cumberbatch and the band Coldplay.

Teenage Cancer Trust CEO Siobhan Dunn praised Mr Sutton's work as "inspiring" yesterday.

"I've had the privilege of meeting him and his positivity is always remembered by all that meet him or hear him speak," she said. "Stephen is making the biggest possible difference to Teenage Cancer Trust and the young people who need our help."

* This week's edition of Off the wall with Reverend James Bhagwan will run tomorrow.

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