16 November 2022

My Life Now - meet GBR Para Team Representative Emily

It’s been 19 years since the Trust first set sail – what are the young people who have been on trips up to now? Our 'My Life Now' series shows a positive future after cancer is a reality. Emily's passion for sailing was ignited by the support of the Trust.

Emily Wright helming a Trust boat with a massive smile on her faceName: Emily Wright

Age: 20

Pronouns: she/her

Diagnosis/year: Optic Pathway Glioma 2011 (Registered Blind)

When did you first sail with the Trust? Summer 2016

What you do now? I am in my third year studying for an MSCI in Physics with Scientific Computing at Bristol University.

Explain what that means?

I am a full-time student living in Bristol. My week consists of lectures and problems classes in quantum mechanics, solid state physics, high performance computing, data science and machine learning. In my free time I climb/boulder, attend German evening classes and sail with the university sailing society.

Why did you do want to do this?

I love problem solving and asking questions about the world around us hence choosing to study Physics. Once I have graduated, I hope to find a job related to sustainability and the environment as I have a passion for protecting the beautiful world around us. As well as the studying side of university, it is a brilliant way to build independence, make new friends and try new things.

Emily on the water practising for the RS VenturesWhat's the coolest thing you've done lately?

This summer I travelled to Sciez on Lake Geneva for the European Blind Match Racing Worlds (Sailing) representing GBR. Despite it being my first international competition, my crew and I finished 3rd. Since this success I have been selected to represent the GBR para team again, this time at the RS Venture Connect Worlds in Oman in November. I am a little nervous but super excited to explore somewhere new, learn more sailing skills and meet some inspirational fellow sailors.

Why did you need the Trust's support in recovery?

Sadly, the nature of going through treatment is that normal life goes on hold. This means once you have finished treatment and in recovery it is hard to find your way back into everyday life. The Trust helped me to build confidence and independence on trips by giving us as young people responsibilities aboard the boat.

The Trust also built a community of people who understood me and could support me in a time when a lot of us feel very alone. The most important lesson I learnt with the Trust is that you can do anything you set your mind to. Sometimes due to mental, physical or health challenges you may have to approach a task differently from others but that does not mean you cannot do it. It means you do it in your individually beautiful way.

A selfie of Emily sailing in Round the Island RaceWhat part has the Trust played in you doing what you are doing now?

Firstly, the Trust helped me regain confidence and independence after treatment which were vital in me making the decision to leave home and head to university. The Trust trips also enabled me to make life-long friendships of incredible young people who have similar life experiences creating a community of people to give advice and support as you take your next steps.

Also, the Trust helped me fall in love with sailing as such an accessible sport. It is now my main hobby and a brilliant drive for me to improve whilst being surrounded by a lovely community of sailors. I am excited to be continuing my journey with the Trust as a Graduate Volunteer.

What's your top tip for a young people interested in working in your industry?

It doesn’t matter which direction you choose to head in life or career (I appreciate Physics and Computing isn’t everyone’s cup of tea). Do what you are passionate about. set your goals (no matter how big or small) and you will be happy.

Don’t be afraid to be different as everyone takes a different route to get to their personal goals, but no route is better or worse than others. We all have our down days and get a bit lost as to what our goals are, and this is perfectly fine. The key is to surround yourself by positive people who care for you.

Follow Emily in the RS Venture Connect Worlds in Oman HERE