Cancer sufferer Stephen Sutton attacked by internet trolls accusing him of 'duping' supporters
Terminally ill cancer sufferer Stephen Sutton has been forced to defend himself against cruel online accusations that he 'duped' people into donating money.
Mr Sutton, 19, who has incurable bowel cancer, has raised almost £3.2 million for the Teenage Cancer Trust after his plight touched the hearts of people around the world.
On Friday doctors discharged him from Queen Elizabeth's Hospital in Birmingham after a ‘dramatic improvement’ in his condition, allowing him to return to his home in Burntwood, Staffordshire.
But after he updated his Facebook page to tell followers that he felt ‘fortunate’ to have the chance to go home, he was attacked by internet trolls who accused him of exaggerating his illness.
One Twitter user @Shaneobrmay081 wrote “Lots feel duped."
Another, Sarah Hill said: "Am I the only one who thinks something is not quite right here? While I hope I am wrong it feels like we are being conned.
“One minute he tweets saying he is dying and won't see the next day, then all of a sudden he is being released to go home. As I said, I hope I am wrong but I have a strange feeling about this."
However Mr Sutton was quick to respond to the allegations, writing on Twitter: "Sorry to disappoint you! So you know, I still have my cancer and it's incurable, if that makes you feel less 'duped' x"
Today he added: "RE the troll tweet I replied to yesterday, I really didn't expect the response to get so much exposureI just gave a quick response, thought nothing of it and was (and still am) completely unaffected by it.
"Trolls and cynics exist. It's a shame. But just try not to retaliate too aggressively or get too riled...
"Like I've said before: On the whole people are 'good', lets concentrate on that :)."
And supporters were quick to back the teenager.
Karry Bacon wrote: "Oh for heaven's sake. People are horrible."
Mr Sutton, from Burntwood, Staffordshire, has raised more than £3.2 million in donations from 131,000 people since posting Stephen's Story, a film about his bucket list, on the internet.
While he was undergoing treatment for multiple tumours he was visited by David Cameron who praised the teenager's "incredible" zest for life.
Speaking of his delight about being released from hospital he said: "The recovery I've undergone recently is quite remarkable.
"It has been difficult, there is an emotional trauma attached to nearly dying (a few times) that will take a while to get used to, but ultimately I now feel even more fortunate to just be here and the experience serves as a potent reminder to go out there and live life as freely and as positively as possible.
"The simple things we take for granted are all blessings, and living truly is a privilege we should all try and enjoy and make the most of!"
Mr Sutton said he has discussed the possibility of trying a new trial drug treatment, which would be his fifth regime of chemotherapy.
However, for the time being, Mr Sutton said he and his family aimed to "just get a bit of normality back into our lives".
Mr Sutton added on Facebook: “Physically my body has been through a lot recently so naturally I will need some time to recover. I have an appointment with the professor in about 2 weeks time and he's mentioned that if I'm healthy enough there is a trial drug treatment I am eligible for that I could potentially try.
“It would be a 5th different chemotherapy regime for me, with previous others having limited effect, so we will need to seriously discuss the efficacy of me trying it, but to even be talking about a few weeks time and having options is a great feeling.
"Of course, I'll keep everyone updated. The immediate plan now is to just get a bit of normality back into our lives (see next post). This extra period of time I now have feels like a gift, one that I'm determined to use productively. I'll be probably be straight back to doing some crazy stuff/events/etc soon, but for now, it just feels great to be home!!"
Yesterday, he went to his old school and - along with 600 friends - set the Guinness World Record for the most number of people making a heart-shaped gesture. Charlotte Newman, of Teenage Cancer Trust, said: "Stephen is simply nothing short of a miracle."