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.

When a young person gets the ‘all clear’, their whole world has changed. What happens after treatment can be as difficult as the treatment itself, if not even more so.

Because of cancer’s impact on their mental wellbeing, simply picking up where they left off before their diagnosis just isn’t possible for many young people.

At this stage in life, cancer often leads to lower educational achievement, relationship and friendships difficulties, body image issues, and/or ongoing late effects, such as extreme fatigue, infertility, 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.

Through the Trust’s sailing and outdoor adventures, young people laugh, gain a new sense of purpose and self-worth, rediscover independence, and feel optimism for the future.

They realise what they are capable of and stop feeling like ‘the only one’. They start to re-establish their purpose and place in the world and believe in a brighter future.

Scarlet, 16, was diagnosed with retinoblastoma in 2008 and was referred to the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust by the Childhood Eye Cancer Trust. She has joined three of the charity’s sailing adventures since 2019, which she says are a chance to connect with other young people who understand what she has been through.

“The Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust trips are really different to what other places offer. You get to be hands-on with the sailing and get to meet people who have had similar experiences. You feel connected in some way, and you have a sense that you can make friends easier here because you understand each other.

“It’s nice because you don’t feel judged by the other person you’re talking to. You know they’re listening and can understand what you’ve been through. You can’t really tell people from where you live certain things because they won’t get it as much as someone who’s had the same experience will. When we chat here it feels really genuine and honest, and I like that.

“It pushes you out of your comfort zone, pushes you to try new things, and you get to make new friends you wouldn’t have met if you didn’t come on the trip.”

If you’re interested in a trip, visit the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust website for more information.