Stephen, pictured centre, leading the first Good Gestures Day in November 2013
Friends of Stephen Sutton – the terminally ill teenager from the UK who has raised £3million for charity - are continuing his personal mission to spread happiness and tick off another dream on his ‘bucket list’ by helping him set a new Guinness World Records title this weekend.
The brave 19-year-old, who issued a heartbreaking farewell to his followers on Twitter last week, originally set out to raise £10,000 for the Teenage Cancer Trust.
But after touching the nation's hearts with his positive outlook, the teenager has gone on to far surpass that figure.
An official Guinness World Records attempt will take place this Sunday (May 4) at Stephen’s old school, Chase Terrace Technology College in Burntwood, Staffordshire for the most people making heart shaped hand gestures.
The aim is to get Stephen’s name in the Guinness World Records book, achieving another item on his “bucket list” of things he wants to do before he dies.
“To break the world record, Stephen’s friends need more than 500 people to take part. He has inspired so many we are in little doubt he could get 5,000! But be warned that the room only has a capacity for 600 so we might have to turn some away!” said Margo Horsley, CEO of young peoples charity Fixers.
The attempt will be overseen by a Guinness World Records adjudicator.
Craig Glenday, Guinness World Records Editor-in-Chief, said: “Guinness World Records has been touched by the incredible bravery that Stephen Sutton has shown since being diagnosed with cancer.
“He has inspired millions, and the money he’s raised for the Teenage Cancer Trust will improve the quality of life, and chances of survival, for countless young cancer patients in the future.
“We know that he’s expressed a desire to make it into the record books, and will recognise this by acknowledging him in the next edition of the Guinness World Records book.
“We are also very excited to confirm that we will be in Stephen’s hometown of Burntwood on Sunday to adjudicate a record attempt in his honour for the most people making heart shaped hand gestures. Good luck to everyone involved!”
As well as the record attempt, more than 300 friends will be handing out free hugs, high fives and handshakes on ‘National Good Gestures Day’ in his honour on Saturday, May 10, an idea Stephen first conceived last year.
The events are being organised by his friends with the support of Fixers, the national charity which helps young people tackle any issue that matters to them.
Stephen, who was diagnosed with bowel cancer at 15, held the first Good Gestures Day with Fixers in Birmingham in November 2013 and made a film about it.
Before Stephen’s condition deteriorated and he made an emotional farewell from his hospital bed, he and his friends, now at universities across the UK, had decided to turn Good Gestures Day into a nationwide event.
Friends in Birmingham, London, Liverpool, Nottingham, Falmouth, Swansea, Manchester and Sheffield swung into action and even complete strangers in Glasgow and Sunderland were inspired to arrange the events, which will all take place on Saturday, May 10.
Bethany Hughes, 18, who went to school with Stephen, is leading the Falmouth Good Gestures day.
Bethany with Stephen
“Knowing Ste is like having a constant ray of sunshine in your life,” said the dance student. “He knows exactly how to cheer people up, and if he ever sees you feeling a bit down, he comes over, cracks a joke and makes you feel about 50,000 times better.
“I can guarantee that all Ste's friends will continue to spread his message, and I do think his story will be told in 50 or 60 years’ time simply because of the volume of people he has touched.”
Bethany has visited Stephen at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham since his condition improved.
She added: “It really helped seeing that he was so happy, as it made us feel like we had no reason to worry or be upset. If Ste's fine, then we should be.”
Hannah Telles, 17, another of Stephen’s friends, is organising the event to break a Guinness World Record in Stephen’s name and tick off number 34 on his bucket list.
She is rallying people to break the record for the most people making heart shaped hand gestures in his honour.
Hannah, pictured above, said: “We chose to break the heart shaped hand gesture record because it fits with Ste’s positivity message and we all love Ste, so we want to spread the love.”
Margo Horsley, CEO of Fixers, added: “Members of the public can get involved in any of the events and we’d be delighted for as many as possible to help continue Stephen’s mission to spread positivity and happiness with simple acts of kindness".