13 February 2020

Celebrating Palentine's Day with the A-Team

Happy Palentine's Day! The day before Valentine's Day, it's a chance to celebrate and shout about the love shared between you and your mates.

When young people come on Trust trips, it's the friendships that last long after they return home. The other young people they meet can relate, they can empathise, and this leads to instant connections and unspoken understandings.

Below is a story Emily told us, originally published in issue 10 of Inspire magazine. It's a perfect example of why pals are more than worth a day to celebrate what they mean to us. This is the story of the A-Team...

After a diagnosis of Langerhans Cell Histiocytosis just before her 15th birthday, Emily Shattock missed a year of school. She says post-treatment can be “the hardest, most depressing part” of cancer. But thanks to meeting a group of friends who call themselves the ‘A-Team’ life has changed.

“During treatment people know you’re a cancer patient. But afterwards no one knows why you look the way you do; I was a pale, freckly person with no hair. I felt judged everywhere I went. People would look at me like I came from outer space.

“It’s horrendous. I’d have really sudden outbursts of anxiety where I just wanted to curl up in a ball. By the time of my first trip I was at my wits’ end. I was still getting to grips with life. That trip really picked me up and encouraged me to keep going.

“Meeting people who had gone through similar was so reassuring. Being on the sea it felt safe to talk about the really personal, sometimes dark, things we had never talked about before. No one else could hear. I wanted to live on that boat forever.

“These are the friends that are always there for you. We’re on our ‘A-Team’ group chat all the time and it feels like we’ve always known each other.

“We live all over the place so don’t get to really meet up in person outside of trips, but that doesn’t matter. When we’re together it feels like we’ve never been away and without saying anything, we can recognise how each other is feeling. Friendships are a huge part of what trips achieve and I’ve been able to find myself again.”