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Recovery can be as big a challenge as treatment for young people says Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust

by Ashton Howard 2 Feb 2019 10:29 UTC
Libby Berridge says she owes her recovery to the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust © Tom Roberts

Cancer recovery is as much about what happens after treatment as during this is why the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust is highlighting the need to support young people during the challenging but often overlooked phase of rebuilding life after cancer as World Cancer Day approaches (4 February).

A recent Teenage Cancer Trust and Public Health England report revealed more young people are happily surviving cancer, but post-treatment support is an area young people consistently speak of as 'lacking' and 'important' in their cancer care. They are least satisfied with the mental health support, despite 80% finding the mental health impact of a diagnosis as difficult as the physical.

The Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust is a national charity that supports young people aged 8-24 to rebuild their confidence after cancer. Through sailing and outdoor adventure trips, young people are empowered and inspired to re-engage with education, employment, relationships and society. That's why when treatment ends the Trust's work begins.

One young person who struggled with their post-treatment transition is Libby Berridge, from Lilbourne, near Rugby. Having endured three years of lifesaving treatment for acute lymphoblastic leukaemia at Northampton General Hospital, Libby says she owes her recovery to the Trust.

Libby explains: "When you finish treatment it's still always there and that's what a lot of people don't understand. You're just expected to snap back to 'normal' but processing what happened is very hard."

Many great charities support young people living with cancer, but the Trust focuses on post-treatment as for many young people simply picking up where they left off before their diagnosis just isn't possible and the long-term support of the Trust can be a lifeline.

Wen Stone, from Redditch, has been involved with the Trust for seven years after treatment for severe aplastic anemia, which included 148 blood transfusions in five years.

She said: "I can honestly say my recovery would have not happened without the Trust, I'm not even sure if I'd still be alive without their support. The Trust has helped me find purpose, direction and kept me focused on recovery."

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The players of People's Postcode Lottery have enabled the Trust to keep up with the growing number of young people who desperately need support throughout the long and emotionally draining process of recovery, to help them to start to look ahead to their future with optimism.

Dave Hobin Consultant Paediatric Oncologist and CLIC Sargent Social Worker Kate Ryan explain why the Trust's support is vital during the recovery phase in this video: http://

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