Rosa's Story

From being supported after leukaemia to volunteering and being part of the Youth Advisory Group, it's all been about getting involved and an 'I can do it' attitude for Rosa.
Rosa paddling in a kayak
Rosa paddling in a kayak
Rosa first sailed as a young person in 2009 and was named the Trust's 2018 Luke Gilbert Volunteer of the Year for going above and beyond to make a huge difference to the lives of young people on trips.

On her very first trip, Rosa had no idea what she was throwing herself into, but she’s glad she made that step into the unknown. “I became a part of something that’s just so caring,” she said. “They look out for you, it’s so fabulous, it’s so nice to be a part of.”

She was inspired to volunteer by Rosie McIntyre – the previous recipient of Volunteer of the Year! – after seeing how supportive she was on trips, getting involved and making decisions. Rosie was on all of Rosa’s trips as a young person and left such an impression that she wanted to be able to do the same.

After her first trip back in 2009, Rosa began to feel more comfortable in her own peer group and more confident giving new things a shot.

Ellen and George

She now has an ‘I can do it’ attitude which she credits the Trust with, saying she feels more at ease with social situations. Moving four-and-a-half-hours away to university in a new city with new people was proof she could make a go of life and enjoy it.

"I've made so many friendships and those are the people I rely on if I have a problem, if I have a question, if I need someone to talk to that understands my background."

At the end of a trip, Rosa travels home with young people on the train and sees their faces light up as they tell their families what they’ve been up to.

“They meet their parents and are like ‘Mum, I was in charge of the boat!’ or ‘Look at this picture where I’m doing this!’ There aren’t many opportunities you get like being put in charge of a 46ft boat.”

Volunteer of the Year

Rosa was crowned Volunteer of the Year for 2018. When asked what volunteering at the Trust means to her, she said: "It's something so special that people who aren't part of the Trust really don't understand at all.

"It's being part of something, a network that's so close, where people really look out for you. It's a chance to learn and develop in a really nice, understanding way, where no one's gonna yell at you or tell you off. They want to guide and help you."

Listen to Rosa's volunteering experience on Sound Waves

For Rosa, the trips are about supporting young people to rediscover what they are able to achieve, from skills around the boat to cooking for the first time.

“We say ‘okay, just have a go at chopping the veg’ or ‘if you burn it, don’t worry, we’ve got loads of other food’. It’s about making it so they want to do it and if it goes wrong there being loads of other options that will solve it.

“Lots of us have never had responsibility before, especially while we’ve been in hospital. Everything’s taken away from you, your parents do everything. It’s a chance to learn and develop in a really understanding way, where no one’s going to yell at you or tell you off, but guide you and help you as well.”

Even though spending a few days at sea is a great experience, Rosa says the greater reward is building those meaningful bonds with your crew mates. “It’s not about the sailing. It’s about having fun, talking to people, and going away with a lot of new friends. No one understands you like another person who’s had cancer.”

Feeling inspired or want to help others like Rosa?

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