[C]ourtney Walsh, 14, from Carlisle recently took part in an inspirational sailing trip with the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust, along with sixteen young people in recovery from cancer. Courtney joined the crew of one of four yachts, to sail along the west coast of Scotland from the 25th July, on a five-day yachting adventure.
For Courtney, whose treatment is ongoing for Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia at Great North Children’s Hospital, Newcastle, this was her second time sailing with the Trust. She said: “It feels good that the people on the trip know what you’re talking about”.
The inspirational adventure for Courtney formed part of the Trust’s ‘Return to Sail’ programme, aimed at building long term relationships between the Trust and the young people they support and also ongoing friendships between everyone involved. The trips also provide a chance for the young people to test themselves in a safe and supportive environment, encouraging them to work as a team and get involved in everything from helming the boat to cooking.
She continued: “I enjoyed it so much last time. Before I went I was pretty anxious, but when I got back my mum had noticed that the trip had given me a confidence boost and I began to talk to new people more.”
Departing from their Scottish base in Largs Yacht Haven on Monday, the young people sailed to Loch Fyne via the Kyles of Bute and enjoyed stopovers at the picturesque ports of Tarbert and Portavadie, before putting their new skills to the test circumnavigating the Island of Bute on their way back to Largs.
Launched in 2003, the aim of the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust is to give young people aged 8-24 in recovery from cancer the chance to rebuild their confidence through sailing. Now in its 13th year, the Trust is working with every young person Principal Treatment Centre and a growing number of Designated Units in the UK. The Trust receives no government funding and therefore relies entirely on voluntary donations to provide sailing trips free of charge to the young people.
Find out how you can support the Trust and help to make a real difference to young people’s lives by visiting: www.ellenmacarthurcancertrust.org