Luke Richardson was supported by the Trust after he had his confidence stripped away by teenage leukaemia, ten years after his first trip he wanted to give something back and so last week conquered Britain’s highest mountain, Ben Nevis.
Luke was 14 when he was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia, which led to long periods of being very ill in hospital, missing school and not being able to do the things his friends were doing.
Luke explained: “Being diagnosed was a very hard time for both me and my family. At such a young age it changed everything. Being in the bubble of cancer treatment strips away confidence for young people. The Trust is an amazing charity that helped me through this difficult time in my life.
“The hospital staff introduced me to the Trust when they realised I had an interest in sailing and it was the best thing they could have done for me.
“The young people on Trust sailing trips are all going through the same thing and are in desperate need of some time out. The trips give young people permission to be well and normal again, giving them the chance to let go and just have fun. It made such a difference to my life.”
For many young people in recovery from cancer, the unseen mental and emotional after-effects are as difficult as the physical. Simply picking up where they left off before their diagnosis isn’t possible.
On Trust trips, young people develop confidence by learning new skills, making friends, talking to others who have been through similar experiences, pushing physical boundaries, rediscovering their independence and no longer feeling like they are the only ones going through this.
This is why Luke returned to volunteer for the Trust for a number of years, and why he wanted to give something back through fundraising now having a young family means his time is precious.
He added: “I’ve come out the other side and have children of my own, which back then I could not see happening. As a volunteer, I could help other young people going through what I had been through and now this is my way of giving a little back to make a difference to more young lives.”
We would like to say a huge thank you to Luke, his mum Kimberley and sister Nix for raising enough money for us to take a young person on a first time four-day sailing trip giving them the same opportunity to rebuild their confidence after cancer that Luke had.