The Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust is a national charity that inspires young people aged 8-24 to believe in a brighter future living through and beyond cancer.Find out about our trips Support the Trust
For many young people, simply picking up where they left off before their diagnosis isn’t possible. That is why when treatment ends, our work begins.
Their mental wellbeing improves, and they start to re-establish their purpose and place in the world, getting back into education or work and reconnecting with their friends and families. They believe in a brighter future.Meet our team Read More
Every year in the UK, around 1,800 children (0-14) and 2,400 young people (15-24) are diagnosed with cancer - that's around 12 a day (CRUK, 2022).
Happily survival rates are increasing. But young people remain vulnerable after treatment as it comes at a time of rapid physical, emotional and social development.
The most obvious impact of treatment is on body image. Side effects can include temporary hair loss and weight gain to permanent scarring, amputation and brain damage. Many young people contend with ongoing late effects too, such as extreme fatigue, infertility, osteoporosis, thyroid problems and hearing or vision loss.
Young people with cancer struggle with a range of emotional and mental health problems too - 70% experienced depression during treatment, 90% had anxiety and 83% felt lonely (CLIC Sargent, 2017).
Many miss education, don’t sit exams or have to leave jobs whilst on treatment. They can be crippled by shyness as they lose day-to-day contact with new people and their friends move on. Survivor guilt is also common, as young people question why they lived and friends they made on treatment did not.
A chasm exists between treatment and young people successfully reengaging with social, emotional, educational and employment norms. The Trust fills that gap.
Trust trips deliver a challenging environment and facilitate social interaction and educational experiences, positively enhancing personal growth, motivation, confidence and independence (Roberts, 2014).
Mixing with others who have had similar experiences is key. That is why our Return to Volunteer programme - where young people supported by the Trust in recovery can come back as trip volunteers – is so important.
It is very powerful for a young person in the early stages of recovery to talk to older volunteers who understand exactly what they are going through. Seeing these volunteers who are now healthy, confident and enjoying life is aspirational.
We work with every young person’s principal treatment centre, and a growing number of designated units, in the UK.
Young people typically learn about the Trust through our contacts in each of these hospitals or units, usually a nurse or CLIC Sargent Social Worker. They recommend who they think would be benefit from coming on a trip.
Young people can also come on a trip as a ‘self referral’. These include those who feel they were never in or are no longer part of the system. They often hear about us through other charities they are involved with or friends who have been on our trips.
If you know someone who is struggling or could do with a bit of support, however long off treatment they are, we would love to hear from them.
The Trust won’t ever drop you or forget about you. It will always be there for you.
Sailing gives everyone the chance to find out what they’re capable of alongside other young people who completely understand what they’ve been through.
Ellen was just four when she first stepped on a boat, but immediately knew her life would be full of sailing adventures.
What she didn't know then was that she would end up sailing around the world twice, and, in 2005, become the fastest person to ever do that!
Ellen knew sailing could give young people recovering from cancer an amazing opportunity to learn new skills, get out of their comfort zone, get a confidence boost, and gain a sense of independence.
Ellen says she needed a certain element of bravery to deal with whatever situation she found herself in at sea, but thinks true bravery is when people face adversity they didn’t choose, like the young people we support.
Ellen had a dream and never let go of it. It's why her message is clear - ‘Go for it!'
From Dame Ellen MacArthur’s early inspiration to how we got to where we are today.
Being at the wheel, you feel so in control, like you’re finally in the driver’s seat, literally and metaphorically.
If cancer feels like losing control, then learning to sail with others who have been through the same thing feels like taking it back again, says Callum.
Find out more about Callum's StoryFind out more about the trips Support the Trust
Your imagination is the only limit to what you can do – from a personal challenge to doing something fun with friends or at work.
Help rebuild more young lives after cancer by giving a one-off gift, making a regular donation, donating in memory or leaving a little something in your will.