16 September 2020
I’ve always wanted to fundraise and raise awareness for the Trust since my first trip in 2016. I had the most amazing time and knew there are so many young people out there who really need experiences like these to get them back on their own two feet. On my second trip, which was leg 14 of Round Britain 2017, I came home saying I wanted to fundraise for the Trust, travelling a similar distance to what I’d just covered from Cardiff to Holyhead. But at the time I didn’t really know how to go about it and things weren’t too good anyway so I didn’t look into it.
Fast forward to 24 August this year. I was checking my emails at 3am and saw I’d missed one from the Trust about the Round Britain Your Way challenge! Realising it started on 1 September, I got up in the morning, planned what I was going to do, where I was going to do it, the distance I wanted to cover and how I was going to achieve it within an hour and then signed up!
I was so happy this opportunity had come about giving me the chance to help get more young cancer survivors experiencing what the Trust has to offer.
I believe every child and young adult, who’s experienced living with cancer, gone through the treatment and then is having to cope with its late effects really needs a charity like the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust to help to regain their confidence and know they aren’t alone in how they’re feeling and the struggles they face now and in the future. This is why I wanted to raise money for the Trust and the invaluable work they do.
Being involved with the Trust has been one of my only opportunities to meet young people who have been through similar circumstances to me. For young people recovering from cancer, it is so important to be given that opportunity, as recovering from cancer and dealing with its late effects can make you feel very isolated and that no one understands, even years or decades on after diagnosis.
As well as meeting the young people on the trip, the experiences and memories you take home with you are priceless. When on my Round Britain leg we had a pod of dolphins race next to us as we sailed north in the middle of the Irish Sea. Then when sailing through the night we all got up on the deck with blankets, layed down and took in the night sky. With little to no light pollution the sky just looked incredible, the stars were so bright and it was so peaceful I just felt myself relax.
It’s those moments of having nothing else on your mind, being able to enjoy the present moment that the Trust is able to give young people like me. Then there’s all the volunteers; the ones who are there to support us through the trip, the medics, skippers and, on Round Britain, Tom the cameraman. They all add another level of fun and laughter with their amazing personalities, stories, games and enthusiasm to give young people the best possible experience.
My Round Britain Your Way challenge is to cover 200 miles in eight days. This was going to be every Saturday and Sunday of September, but due to the nature of life this might have to change slightly. I am for the most part cycling at Llyn Geirionydd with a little open water swimming (no wetsuit) there too, covering around 25 miles each day.
I chose to try and cover 200 miles as I worked out that as the crow flies, from Cardiff to St Davids and then from there to Holyhead is 200 miles. We did actually cover 250 nautical miles on Round Britain 2017, which is quite a bit more, but I wanted to try and keep it manageable!