18 May 2022

My Life Now - meet Largs to Cowes rider Amelia

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. The Trust gave Amelia the courage to take a 'leap of faith' in all aspects of her life.

Amelia Caley helming on a Trust tripName: Amelia Caley

Age: 23

Diagnosis/year: Solid Pseudopapillary Epithelial Neoplasm (SPEN) tumour of the pancreas in September 2013

When did you first sail with the Trust: Summer 2014

What do you do now: I am finishing up my third year at Durham University.

Explain what that means:

I’m a member of John Snow college where I am reading Politics. I take models in Philosophy, American Politics, Middle Eastern relations and the decolonising international society. I am graduating soon and applying for jobs to save up to do the NCTJ Qualification, so I can become a journalist.

What part has the Trust played in you doing this?

The Trust showed me what it’s like to achieve. From working towards completing a deadline or pushing myself to do what I really have a passion for. For example, the first time I went to Bradwell and did the leap of faith, I’m not going to lie my legs were more like jelly than actual legs. Heights are not my favourite thing in the world. But taking that jump is the same sensation as applying to university.

Seeing skippers, staff and other people at the Trust put passion into the work to provide an amazing experience for the young people, really pushed me towards achieving my goals and showed me that I have ability. Working towards the goal is just as important as the goal itself.

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

I was very isolated and felt very alone after recovering from cancer, I didn’t have any friends that had been through the same experience as I had. I had really struggled at school, with rumours and bullying due to my cancer diagnosis but also educationally, going from a high achiever to missing months of school and then struggling to keep attending every day. It was a frightening situation where I felt like I was slipping behind my peers.

I also needed to re-gain confidence in my physical ability after major surgery and being told I needed to be careful. Not being able to take part in sports at school was a real knock to my confidence. So, going on a trip where your told that you can sail a full-on yacht and run around and have fun was such a juxtaposition to my life on outside the Trust.

Amelia Caley pulling the ropes on a Trust tripWhat's the coolest thing you've done lately?

Sign up to the Trust's Largs to Cowes 'Brighter Futures' Cycle Challenge. Cycling is a sport I enjoy, and I have never done anything longer than 25 miles, before starting training for this, so why not! It’s going to be tough, but I have come through a lot harder and worse stuff than sore hamstrings and steep hills, so it’s the determination as well.

Why did you want to participate in a fundraising event for the Trust?

Being a graduate volunteer, you see both sides of the Trust, the hard work to sustain provide and develop the trips, but also a hands-on experience of seeing the young people completely grow and come out of their shell. Seeing them get off the ferry at the end of the trip a different person is magical.

So, a chance to raise awareness of what the charity does through looking like a tomato in lycra on wheels whilst challenging myself and reminding myself of what the charity did for me and can do for others. Who could say no!

What's your top tip for young people looking towards a brighter future?

As a student, it’s about getting yourself out there. It doesn’t matter if you study Physics or graphic design just attend the extra talks that your department offers, or if you know a professor who has worked in the industry that you want to go into, send an email. Speak to them after a seminar to arrange a meeting to ask questions and pick their brains, because they are there for you. Talk about their research, read their books and if you show tenacity and interest, they might be able to give you an email or put you in contact with someone who can help.

Support Amelia and the Largs to Cowes riders here