Gruff's Story

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"It’s the wind on your face, it’s getting to direct the boat. It’s just really fun and nice."

Gruff had one reaction to his first trip: "Can I come back!" For him, it's all about rediscovering fun during his recovery.

When he was three, Gruff told his parents he couldn’t see anything they pointed at. Only once he went for a scan two years later did the doctors discover a brain tumour – an optic pathway glioma which affected his vision.

In the hospital, he met a friend his age he’s still in touch with, and felt looked after on the ward.

“Some nights it was like, I just want to go home. But the nurses were really nice and supportive.”

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Gruff was ‘excited’ for his first trip – nervous and excited. He was anxious about missing home, but looking forward to being out on the water.

“The first night, I was a little bit homesick. But that first day sailing, I was literally like ‘I love sailing! Can I come back? Yes, I’m gonna come back’.

Rediscovering what he was capable of was a huge confidence boost, and the feeling of freedom at sea was magical.

It’s the wind on your face, it’s getting to direct the boat. It’s just really fun and nice.”

"I was literally like ‘I love sailing, can I come back?’ Just come and you’ll enjoy it!"

Gruff wanted everyone considering a Trust trip to get past their fear and give it a go.

“Just come and you’ll enjoy it. The first night, it might feel a little bit scary, but then you’ll enjoy it afterwards. It’s really fun.”

After his trip, Gruff went on to represent the Trust at CarFest, singing in the choir on the festival’s main stage

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"I was literally like ‘I love sailing, can I come back?’ Just come and you’ll enjoy it!"