The Ellen Macarthur Cancer Trust
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"

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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 Scotland like Esme.

Esme, 16 from Kinross was diagnosed with a Brain Tumour in 2006.  Her mum Anne recalls, “It was a complete shock. On Saturday Esme was cross country skiing in the Cairngorms and on Monday we were in hospital!”

Esme continues, “I was 11, and didn’t really understood what was happening. That week whizzed past. I had an operation to remove the tumour and when I woke up I was pretty much paralysed.”

Anne continues “When we first saw Esme after her operation we were encouraged by her response.  Clearly there was no brain damage, but as time went by we started to realise how badly her mobility had been affected.”

Esme said, ” At first, I could only move my finger. I had to be hoisted in and out of bed, couldn’t eat by myself, or do much at all. Most of the time I felt like I wasn’t in my own mind, like I was watching myself from the outside. I was in hospital for three months then in a wheelchair for over a year.  At this point I returned to school, but going back after such a long time was difficult. I had lost all my confidence. I had assistance to get around but that just made me feel more isolated. I didn’t like school much anymore and it was getting me down, so eventually I left.

Anne said “This was the hardest part, after treatment was over. Depression is an area of the journey you aren’t prepared for, the transition into adulthood is hard enough anyway, but with this, the balance issues, hormone imbalances, think you are through the worst and then something else happens.”

Esme continues, “When I heard about the Trust I really wanted to get involved. I had sailed a little bit before, and found it was something I could still do. On the trip everyone was so friendly, I felt like I fitted in and was more comfortable talking to people because they understood. There was such a nice atmosphere. I am still struggling, but the fact that I can have fun times like on trips with the Trust keeps me going.”

Esme has overcome so much since her operation. She has learnt to write and play harp with her left hand, uses a snowbike instead of skis, cycles on a trike, has raised money for cancer charities, and has just started a course to help her get work.  Although experiences like her sailing trip are few and far between, they can provide something to really look forward to, and we can’t wait to welcome Esme back again in 2012.

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