The Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust
Posted on : 16/07/2012
The Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust aims to rebuild confidence in young people following their treatment for cancer, by taking them sailing. In 2011 we worked with 304 young people aged 8-24 from 25 hospitals across the UK.
As sailors, you can obviously appreciate the huge sense of adventure and freedom that setting off on a yacht for the first time can bring, the challenge of working together to sail the boat and the unique camaraderie of being part of a crew. The Trust simply uses all these elements and more to help rebuild the confidence and self-esteem of the young people who sail with us.
Receiving a cancer diagnosis inevitably means ‘normal’ life is turned upside down and the future suddenly seems very uncertain. Primary issues affecting young people during treatment include social isolation, loss of independence and identity, changes in body image, and being unable to do many of the activities they used to enjoy. These psychological and physical scars don’t simply disappear once treatment is over.
Sailing with the Trust gives them a chance to develop new skills and share experiences in a safe, yet fun environment, which can be an invaluable step in the recovery process.
It’s not just about the sailing though, there are plenty of other activities including RIB rides, water fights, crabbing, barbeques, and souvenir shopping, with plenty of time set aside to relax and bond with new-found friends.
Emma, now 20 from Essex explains “I don’t think I’d be the person I am now if I hadn’t sailed with the Trust. When I found out I had cancer my life stopped, I was just in a self-contained world of hospitals. On my first trip, the fact that everyone had been through the same sort of thing meant we could all have a laugh together and be kids without any issues. It was incredible. The Trust has been so important to me since then helping me to be happier and more confident. I’ve returned every year, gained my RYA Competent Crew qualification, and I now volunteer on the trips. Everyone who has been through treatment for cancer should get the chance to sail with the Trust.”
If you think you can help, or to find out more, please call 01983 297750, visit www.ellenmacarthurcancertrust.org, or search on facebook/twitter.
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