Jane Sutton congratulates first group of scholarship graduates

Stephen Sutton’s legacy continues to inspire.

Earlier this week Jane Sutton, mother of inspirational teenager Stephen Sutton MBE and Teenage Cancer Trust ambassador, joined friends and family at Coventry University to celebrate the graduation of the first students to receive the scholarship named in her late son’s memory.

In total, 12 students were awarded the Post Graduate Certificate in Teenage and Young Adult Cancer Care, and four of these were the first to benefit from having their tuition fees paid through the Stephen Sutton Scholarship. A total of 50 scholarships will be awarded by 2020 to professionals working with young cancer patients.

Teenagers and young adults have a unique experience of cancer and it is vital that their care reflects their specific needs. The award winning Post Graduate Certificate in Teenage and Young Adult Cancer Care, delivered online and covers the latest developments and innovations in supporting this age group, inspiring change in practice and improved services, here in the UK and beyond.

The funding is part of the incredible amount raised through donations inspired by Stephen Sutton, which currently stands at more than £5.6 milion, of which £1.6 million is being spent on professional development for nurses and specialist staff.

Stephen was diagnosed with bowel cancer when he was 15 and passed away in May 2014 aged 19. Stephen’s Story captured the hearts and minds of the nation with his incredible positivity and bucket list of things he wanted to achieve in the time he had left, and still inspires people today with the fundraising total on Stephen’s JustGiving page continuing to rise.

Jane Sutton has continued her son’s legacy through a range of fundraising activities, most recently climbing Mount Kilimanjaro to raise more than £10,500. On meeting the first group to benefit from the scholarship, she said: “To be invited back to Coventry University, two years on from collecting Stephen’s posthumous honorary doctorate in Science, and witness the first students to graduate after benefiting from the Stephen Sutton Scholarship is an honour and a privilege. Congratulations to everyone who has graduated here today.

“Stephen’s wish was for every young person diagnosed with cancer to receive the best possible care and treatment. He would be thrilled to know these scholarships are playing such an important role in developing the knowledge of professionals working with young cancer patients and are therefore instrumental in helping to fulfil his wish.”

Simon Fuller, Director of Services, said: “Stephen had ambitions to pursue a career in medicine, so we decided to name the scholarship programme in his memory. Stephen has helped us to take significant steps in ensuring all young people with cancer receive the best possible care, and we’re incredibly proud that, through his legacy, we’re able to fund the development of the professionals that provide this support.”

After graduating, Steven Shiels (pictured with Jane Sutton), Young Persons Social Worker at the children and young people’s cancer support charity CLIC Sargent, also received an academic Excellence Award in recognition of his dedication and commitment to high standards work while completing the post-graduate course. He said: “Receiving the Stephen Sutton Academic Excellence Award is a humbling achievement for me. It is an absolute honour to receive an award associated with Stephen’s legacy.

“Completing the Post Graduate Certificate in Teenage and Young Adult Cancer Care has been a rewarding experience, and everything I have learnt will help me achieve the best possible results for the young cancer patients I work with in my role at CLIC Sargent.”

Applications for the scholarship are invited from anyone working with teenagers and young adults with cancer – including doctors, nurses, allied health professionals, youth workers, and social workers. For more information visit www.coventry.ac.uk/teenagecancercare.