Kelly Pilgrim, 22, from Altrincham recently took part in an inspirational sailing trip with the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust, along with number of other young people in recovery from cancer. Kelly joined the crew of one of a handful of yachts, to sail on the Firth of Clyde in Scotland in September on a four-day yacht adventure.
For Kelly who finished cancer treatment in December 2015 at The Christie Hospital, this was her first time sailing with the Trust. She said:
“I learnt to sail and to steer a boat. I had fun with everyone and made some new friends!”
Sailing onboard 42-48 foot cruising yachts, the Trust trips 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.
“It was healing meeting all the new people because you’re in a group and you’ve all got stories to tell – you know you’re not on your own. You’re not the only person who’s been through a difficult time, there are other people.”
Departing from their Scottish base in Largs Yacht Haven on Monday, the young people navigated the waters of the Firth of Clyde and enjoyed various stopovers including Port Bannatyne on the picturesque Isle of Bute, before putting their new skills to the test cruising back into Largs.
Launched in 2003, the aim of the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust is to give young people in recovery from cancer the chance to rebuild their confidence through sailing.
Dame Ellen, who tries to spend a day on as many trips as possible, adds:
“The mental and social fall-out from cancer can be just as devastating as the physical illness. Everything we do is about building confidence, self-esteem and having fun together.”
Now in its 13th year, the Trust has grown beyond every expectation into a national charity. Working with every young person Principal Treatment Centre and a growing number of Designated Units in the UK, they take young people aged between 8-24 who are recovering from cancer on four-day sailing trips.
Find out how you can support the Trust and help to make a real difference to young people’s lives by visiting: