08 September 2020

BLOG: "Every day is a proud day working for the Trust."

How does it feel like to work for a charity and make a difference to young lives? The Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust Operations Team reveal all.

In the previous part of this Wider Horizons blog we found out how the operations team in Cowes and Largs came to work for the Trust. In this final part, we discover what it's like to know that what you do every day will help young people get their lives back on track after cancer treatment.

What’s it like knowing you’re helping so many young people rebuild their lives?

Beth & Holly on Trust tripsBeth: I get to meet and work with the coolest, most inspirational people. Last year I was lucky enough to join the Under 18s Canal Trip. Being involved in the organisation of the trip and then attending myself meant I saw everything come together to achieve a successful and happy trip. It was so special. I always feel proud to work for the Trust, but this year I feel super proud that despite COVID putting a stop to trips, the Trust Community feels stronger and closer than ever before.

Holly: Transformations, new goals, endless ‘can do’ attitudes and super chatty young people are some of the reasons I LOVE what I do. I’ve seen transformations over four days you would not believe; seeing young people believing in themselves after such a long time of feeling doubt and that they cannot do things. Part of my role is to call all young people/parents week before the trip so they feel prepared. We can be faced with silence and sometimes I even have to encourage young people to attend. I remember one individual in particular who came up to me at the end of the trip and said ‘Thank you for convincing me to come, I’ve had the best time’.

Lorna: A parent phoned me one day to apologise that their child, now aged over 18, would not be coming on a trip that summer. They explained he was moving on to other things and they were so sorry. I explained that while we love seeing young people come back again, the whole team would be delighted and proud to hear this young person was ready to take on other challenges. It’s what we aspire to do, to empower. When I see young people on their trip and watch them have such an awesome time, it’s the smiles that make it all worthwhile.

Hayley A: Seeing the difference in young people, from the first day when everyone is normally so quiet and shy, to the last day, when they look so happy and full of smiles, laughter and stories, it is so lovely to know you have played a small part in helping that change. I remember one boy who had never been away from home and struggled with his mobility. On the first day, he missed home, was really quiet and a little bit sad. On the last day we did ‘Best bit, worst bit, funniest bit’ and he said the trip was “the best thing I’ve ever done in my whole life”. Seeing him realise he could do more than he thought, and having so much fun, was so special. At the Teenage Cancer Trust’s Find Your Sense of Tumour event it is really special seeing young people from different hospitals / parts of the country meeting up with people they went sailing with, laughing and recounting stories and memories from their trips.

Hayley S: It’s just such a wonderful thing to be a part of and I had the same experience as Holly. The young person came back again the next year and it was so lovely to see them approach it with excitement and fun instead of being scared. When I tell someone I work for the Trust they are always so amazed there is a charity out there doing what we do. It gives me a warm fuzzy feeling to know I’m a part of it.

Lucy: Seeing and hearing about the positive effect the trips have on young people is what makes everything worthwhile. One memory that stands out is when we received news that a young person was going through a difficult time so I organised a card and gift to be sent to let them know we were thinking of them. The message we received back from the family was so wonderful. This will always stay with me. Every day working for the Trust is a proud day.

Lucy on the OUtdoor Adventure Residential trip Ok, last question is a bit of fun. Tell us something about yourself we don’t know?

Beth: I volunteer for my local swimming club, teaching children to swim every Sunday.

Holly: I sing in my local Mountbatten Hospice Choir. While I’m one of the youngest there, is it truly a highlight in my week! Singing is so good for the soul and the great thing is even if you aren’t the best singer, a choir hides all your not so good notes.

Lorna: I have my RYA Day Skipper Certificate and own my own yacht in Largs, which I don’t get out on as much as I’d like during the summer as that is when my job is extra busy organising sailing trips for the Trust instead!

Hayley A: I absolutely love baking cakes, especially cakes for kids based on their favourite TV programmes/characters.

Lucy: I am a qualified singing teacher. I love singing Disney, Musical Theatre and Opera!

Hayley S: I am OBSESSED with all things Disney. I worked for a summer at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida and I still find any opportunity to bring it up!