Stephen Sutton is a man with a story to tell. An incredible, inspirational and all-too-short story. In case he's managed to pass you by in recent weeks, Stephen Sutton is a 19 year old teenager who's raised over £3 million for charity.
He also has incurable cancer.
As someone who knows a bit about being treated for cancer, I am moved, inspired and saddened by Stephen's Story in equal measure. To look death in the face and give it a grin and a thumbs up takes something a bit beyond any ordinary type of courage. And I'm blown away by it.
But, and as he would and has regularly been the first to point out, he's just another teenager, another person, with cancer. A staggering 1 in 3 of us will now get cancer sometime in our lives in the UK, meaning that countless others have, are and will suffer in the same way - but with much less public interest.
By contrast, Stephen's Story - and his so-titled Facebook page - has some 800,000 followers and climbing. But Stephen's Story is, by his own declaration, most emphatically "not a sob story"; it's simply his own. And he wants it to be useful.
In the last 10 days alone Stephen has met the Prime Minister, taken part in National Good Gesture Day - which he founded last year - and broken a Guinness World Record. A somewhat impressive fortnightly honours list by anyone's standards, let alone an otherwise unknown 19 year old from Staffordshire who's fighting cancer on a full-time basis.
What makes him different? He owned his story, and then he told it.
Having already raised over half a million pounds for the rather wonderful Teenage Cancer Trust and been doing generally marvellous things for over a year, Stephen's health took a downward turn a few weeks ago. He posted a picture of himself giving the 'thumbs up' from his hospital bed accompanied by a goodbye message to his friends and followers. He was heading in for another operation and wasn't feeling confident he'd come out. He did come out, literally coughed up a tumour, and got back on with the business of living.
The image went viral, and so did Stephen.
We can't all be celebrities or prime ministers or demi-gods, what we can be is ourselves. While there are undoubtedly very many lessons that could be learned from Stephen's approach to life, one very important one is the sheer power of telling our own stories. Whoever we are, and whatever we've done.
We are all unique, with ideas, insights and experiences that only we can have. Your story might be just the one someone else - or 800,000 of them - needs to hear.
Who knows what you might start?
Stephen is unfortunately and, as he puts it, rather "inconveniently" back in hospital, and is now sadly not able to update his leagues of followers himself.
But if he could, I'd be willing to hazard a guess that the post might include a grin and a thumbs up.
Here's to telling our stories; here's to Stephen.
You can donate to Stephen's Just Giving page here, or find out more about Stephen's incredible young life by visiting his website. You can also watch the short documentary which he made earlier this year.
This post was originally published on The Ideas Arcade.