The Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust is a national organisation that gives young people between the ages of 8-18 who have suffered from cancer and leukaemia the opportunity to take part in the new and fantastic experience of sailing. The majority of our young people are off treatment and in recovery from cancer and leukaemia. These young people are recruited by our contact (usually a nurse or social worker) at the hospital or group we work with, as they are more involved with the young people at the hospitals and so aware of who would benefit the most from the trip. The young people can continue to sail with the Trust up until their 18th birthday or remission date. Often the young people that sail with us have spent long periods of time in hospital and can be suffering from low self-esteem on top of missing out on large chunks of their childhood. Studies into the psychological effects of cancer in children highlight how important positive personal relationships with others are in facilitating coping with cancer. They also state how difficult it is for the children (especially teens) to establish independence and a sense of control over their lives and maintain a sense of personal worth. The emphasis of our trips is on teamwork and fun, with sailing as the perfect catalyst. Sailing offers a new experience in a small and intimate environment, which gives the young people the space to assert themselves without the chance of getting lost in the group. These independent studies into the psychological effects of cancer in children and the values of sail training for young people highlight the long term positive impact the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust trips can have on the challenges that children with cancer and leukaemia face. “Jay returned full of confidence, chat, and knowledge of sailing. Jay had ‘life’ back in his eyes. He enjoyed the whole experience"
28 January 2013
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East Anglia's Fundraising Page
The Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust is a national organisation that gives young people between the ages of 8-24 who have suffered from cancer the opportunity to take part in the new and fantastic experience of sailing.
Use this page to help us support a young person from the East Anglia, like Deryn.
“When four doctors walk in and tell you to sit down you known it’s not going to be good news, “ recalls Caroline, of the day she found out her 10 year old son Deryn had Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia.
Deryn didn’t really understand what was happening, but remembers, “I knew it must be pretty bad because my mum cried and my dad went quiet, and he’s never quiet!”
Caroline continues, “After the initial shock, we found out Deryn’s cancer was the most treatable, with the highest survival rate. We remained positive throughout treatment, which I think really helped, and most of it went relatively smoothly! We were in and out of Addenbrookes for chemotherapy all summer and he was able to start the new school term just a day after his classmates. Deryn was very fit before treatment but now his face was swollen from steroids, so when the kids were asking him what happened he had no problem explaining. It was only when they stared that he found it really rude.
Deryn was often neutropenic so couldn’t go to school all the time. At one point he got appendicitis, but the doctors wrongly assumed his symptoms were a side effect of treatment. It took a few days before they realised his appendix was about to pop! He was blue-lighted to Addenbrookes where they operated straight away. Because Deryn’s bloods were so low we were told there was a massive risk of him bleeding to death and not waking up, but thankfully the operation went well and eight days later he was back at school!
In December he got Pancreatitus, and on Christmas day he was on morphine, nil by mouth, just staring at everyone eating their mince pies! He lost 1½ stone during this period, and had to have a nose tube to feed. I remember everyone was saying they were really sorry to hear Deryn was in hospital and how terrible it must be, and I always replied yes, but he’s alive. Christmas was great this year, but I’ve met six families now who would have had empty chairs at their Christmas dinner, and of course that could still be us at any minute.
Deryn had been really active, but was much weaker after his treatment and so it was great that he got the opportunity to try a new sport with the Trust.”
Deryn arrived in Cowes sporting a memorable green Mohican, and settled in quickly. “Before I came, I was excited, and it was really good fun. I liked doing new things and making new friends and everyone was really nice. I enjoyed driving the boat and putting the sails up the most, and learning from Ellen MacArthur how to sail the boat.”
Caroline finishes, “I think mental state has so much to do with recovery. If you can keep your kids in positive frame of mind, regardless of outcome, they have a better experience. Trips like the sailing week give the young people something to look forward to, gives them confidence, and importantly it gives them memories they would never have otherwise. After sailing with the Trust Deryn came back saying “I can do this!”
He never thought he’d be able to steer a big boat but he did. It gave him confidence to try things again, and he came home believing that he could do things that cancer had made him believe he couldn’t. It gave me back the old Deryn that I knew.”
Anonymous £20.00 (+ £5.00 giftaid)
08.12.13 Best wishes from members of Civil Service Sailing Association