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Sailing Trips Bring Hope To Young Cancer Survivors

Charity prepares for summer adventures
The Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust yachting team on a summer sailing adventure

YOUNG cancer survivors are set to experience the trip of a lifetime with the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust as the charity's yacht sets sail this summer.

One young man who was treated in hospital for a brain tumour in 2022 will never forget what joining the sailing crew meant to him.

Last summer, Shaun Donohoe spent four days on a yacht with the Trust, where he began to find positives in what had been an incredibly tough time.

Twenty-six-year-old Shaun said, "It's hard to talk about cancer with friends, family, people you've just met. They give you sympathy rather than understanding. Sometimes you're not really looking for that. You want someone who knows and has experience.

"You just want to talk about it. You want to process what's happened and I think that's the same for others. After all your treatment is finished, it's almost as if there is a waiting period of wondering: Is it still there? Is it gone?

Shaun at the helm

"There were a lot of us on this trip making jokes about everyone's experience. We were all light-hearted about it. It really makes you think about it in a positive way.

"Obviously there is nothing positive about cancer but there are things from this trip I will remember for many years to come. Crying with laughter - it's been a while since that's happened. It's good to find people who have probably had the same thoughts as myself."

Now, other young people who have had cancer are being invited to join the charity this summer for their own transformational experience.

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

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

Reflecting on his week of sailing, Shaun from East Kilbride, said, "Although the cancers and tumours are all different, everyone there has been through the same thing. It feels great to talk about bits and bobs that have happened to us and take it all in. Things like that are the best for dealing with it because you get to process everything in a healthy way.

"Sailing has been amazing. You're given the tools to make anything happen. It's not all planned out so what happens is special. I made memories, learned how to sail a yacht, made some great friends. It puts you on a high."

Making memories and friends on board

Postcode Lottery players have raised £4.7 Million for the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust.

Founder and Patron of the charity, Dame Ellen, 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."

Making A Difference

People's Postcode Lottery players are helping deserving causes like Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust make a difference every single day. Read more about the range of Charities that our players support.

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Published: 01/07/2024

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