18 April 2024

My Life Now - meet Art & Design Teacher Victoria

It’s been over two decades since we first set sail – what are the young people who have been on our trips up to now? For Victoria, spending time with others in the same boat provided her with the self-acceptance to become the best version of herself.

Victoria at the helm smiling with the beautiful sparkly sea and blue sky behind her. Victoria is wearing a bright blue coat and Spinlock lifejacket.Name: Victoria Sanches

Age: 26

Diagnosis/year: I was diagnosed with a benign brain tumour called a craniopharyngioma in 2008 and completed treatment in July 2011.

When did you first sail with the Trust? 2013 – I was on the first ever trip from the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust's Largs base in Scotland.

What do you do now? I am a high school Art and Design Teacher and part-time Photographer.

Explain what that means?

I work Monday – Friday in a high school in Perth and teach all age groups art and design and this year have had the opportunity to teach photography too! During the weekends and school holidays, I also have my own small photography business where I do weddings, parties, local events and more! Every summer I work for my local council capturing their events during their summer 'Gala Week' which I love too.

Why did you want to do this?

I've always wanted to become a teacher and have always loved art and design. My favourite part of the school day was always going to art and spending time with my teachers – so it’s always been a passion of mine to be that supportive and fun teacher like the ones I had. I like making my classroom a safe and supportive space for everyone to express themselves through their artwork and have some fun. Similarly, I love capturing photographs for a range of events and capturing the small, hidden details which may be hidden and lost in the moment – like people yawning mid-ceremony and surprise moments.

Victoria smiling on a sailing trip she is surrounded six crew mates all smiling at the camera wearing their Musto waterproofs and blue Spinlock lifejackts. It's a cloudy but bright day with the green scottish mountains and blue sea behind them.What’s the coolest thing you’ve done lately? I’m not the coolest of people, I don’t think – but I guess a huge milestone for me has been getting to develop, lead and teach the higher photography course this current school year. It has always been a dream of mine to teach the course and this year I’ve been given the opportunity, which I am both nervous but excited about!

Why did you need the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust’s support in recovery?

Because of my age going through treatment (11-14 years-old), I never got much support from charities and didn’t get to meet others of my age who were going through similar circumstances. The Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust helped me feel equal and part of something bigger, rather than just being the odd one out from all my friends due to my treatment. I needed to be able to speak to other people and share stories and be able to talk to others who truly understand what I’ve been through. I was terrified of boats and the sea growing up and now I can’t wait to do more sailing qualifications and look forward to volunteering on trips every summer!

What part has the support played in you doing what you are now?

It's helped me build a massive amount of confidence and helped me to see all that I can achieve – even when I wasn’t feeling well. The Trust allowed me to accept my differences and challenges and use all the hard times to be the best version of myself I could be. I owe the charity so much of my life and for being a constant supportive factor in my life. They believed in me when I wasn’t feeling myself and showed me I can achieve more than I think I can.

What’s your top tip for other young people?

Believe in yourself and your choices. Make all the mistakes, ask all the questions and learn every step of the way. Your teacher training year will be one of the hardest and challenging times, but you can get through it and learn so much from it. Stick it out as it gets better and enjoy every moment! Share your passion!