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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Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust Appeal Page

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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 the South West, like Daisy.

When Daisy turned 13 her parents noticed a change in her.  Their only child became withdrawn, lost weight and was constantly tired. Everyone dismissed this as normal teenage behaviour, but her family was convinced there was more to it, and spent two long years looking for answers from doctors and specialists. 

Daisy was tested for many different things including anorexia and glandular fever during this worrying time, until eventually she was told she had Hodgkins disease.  Her Mum recollects ‘When cancer was finally diagnosed we were devastated, but at the same time it was a relief; at least we finally knew what Daisy needed to get better!’

After being ill for over two years, Daisy began her course of treatment, which left her even more exhausted. She put on weight from taking steroids, administered to make her feel better, and she lost all her hair.  Daisy missed two years of school, during which time her friends would email, or visit when she felt well enough.  Her Mum said ‘Daisy was very social when she was younger, but it had got to the point where we didn’t know if she was withdrawn because of her illness, or whether it was just her character.’

When her treatment ended, Daisy was asked if she wanted to come sailing with the Trust.  She recalls ’Before I was diagnosed I went on holiday and remember spending time looking out to sea at all the boats, dreaming of sailing off somewhere, but never got the chance.  When I was invited to try it, of course I said yes!”

In 2008 Daisy came on her first sailing trip and enjoyed every minute.  ‘It was the best week, and as well as making loads of friends, I found out that I love sailing!’

When Daisy’s parents came to meet her at the end of her trip they couldn’t believe the transformation.  “When we saw Daisy she was so full of beans, back to her old self.  It was the first time since all this began that we felt everything would be alright again.  It made us realise how introverted Daisy had become during her illness, and this trip was the turning point for her.’

Daisy then sailed from Cardiff to Torquay in 2009 during the EMT Round Britain event and will be returning in 2010.

Her Mum says. ‘It was amazing what difference a few days on a boat made.  For us, Daisy sailing with the Trust was life changing. She’s found something that she absolutely loves doing, and it gave us our daughter back.

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