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Young cancer survivors will join sailing adventures with Dame Ellen MacArthur's charity this summer

by Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust 25 May 11:32 UTC
EMCT yacht sailing in summer © Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust

Hundreds of young cancer survivors from across the UK are looking forward to inspirational sailing adventures this summer, as the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust gets set for its biggest year yet.

The nationwide charity will support over 700 young people this year - an increase from 636 in 2023 - with hundreds of them spending three or four nights sailing from East Cowes on the Isle of Wight and Largs in Scotland.

Trips will run from May 27 through to Sept 19, and will include those being supported by the charity for the first time and those who are returning for more.

Shaheed, 25, from Blackburn was diagnosed with a pituitary tumour in 2020. Last year, he spent four days sailing with the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust in Largs and will join them again this summer on the Isle of Wight.

He said: "It's a really big confidence booster. Being able to learn how to sail shows that we are still just as we were, it's just we've been through an ordeal. We can come back from it, get back into things, get back out there, meet new people, learn new skills. I never thought I'd ever be able to try a boat.

"Nobody on the trip has any qualms over talking about cancer, saying what they had, their treatment, because everybody has been through the same thing. It helped me improve mentally by clearing my head, letting me get away from my worries, and it just generally uplifted my mood.

"It's special when you just stop the boat and it's just slightly rocking with a light breeze. It's just so calm. You can really just think and relax and let all your worries out."

Even after they are given the all-clear, cancer can impact young people's lives long into the future. Their mental wellbeing in particular takes a massive hit.

Once their treatment has finished, they are often left with fewer friends and struggle with relationships, their education suffers, they miss out on work experience, and they develop body image issues. Late effects of being diagnosed young include infertility, extreme fatigue, osteoporosis, thyroid problems, and hearing or vision loss.

Adjusting to this 'new normal' can be extremely difficult, which is why when treatment ends, the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust's work begins.

The Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust is a national charity that takes young people aged 8-24 on sailing and outdoor adventures to inspire them to believe in a brighter future living through and beyond cancer.

Through the charity's sailing and outdoor adventures, young people gain a new sense of purpose and self-worth, rediscover their independence, and feel optimistic about what comes next in life. They realise what they are capable of, stop feeling like 'the only one', and their mental wellbeing improves.

They start to re-establish their purpose and place in the world and believe in a brighter future.

Founder and Patron of the charity, Dame Ellen MacArthur, said: "We see it time and time again. Young people arrive anxious and isolated. But they leave feeling part of something, accepted, independent, and optimistic.

"We are only able to support as many young people as we do thanks to the players of People's Postcode Lottery. Because of them, thousands of young lives have been transformed after cancer through life-changing sailing and outdoor activity adventures.

"This summer we will welcome hundreds of young people from right across the UK who need post-treatment support. We will be there for them and they will believe in a brighter future."

If you or someone you know could benefit from the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust's support, visit or email

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