Dame Ellen MacArthur has annouced a very special project that will see 100 young people in recovery from cancer taking part in an extraordinary challenge - sailing around Britain in a national relay, celebrating achievement and realising potential.
Round Britain 2017 is being run by the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust, a national charity which takes young people aged between eight and 24 from across the UK on sailing and other water-based adventures to help them rebuild their confidence after cancer treatment.
The Round Britain event will start and finish at the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust's Scottish base, Largs Yacht Haven.
In order to help more young people in recovery from cancer in the long term, the voyage aims to increase national awareness by visiting towns and cities around the UK during the four-month endeavour. Building new skills and forging long-lasting friendships, her crew will also visit cancer treatment centres meeting people still in recovery and discussing possibilities after treatment.
Ann, a young person who has sailed with the Trust over several years, said: "It was so easy to talk to the other young people. We were a close-knit team who spent a lot of time together and I could really open up. I knew they understood what I was saying without me having to explain it. The friendships are different to my other friendships; more intimate because we all have this thing in common only we know. My teachers saw the change in me. I was more easy going, I joined more clubs and was getting other people to join in too. I stopped being the kid in the corner."
Dame Ellen MacArthur said: "Round Britain is about a lot more than sailing - it is about rebuilding the confidence, self-belief and independence of those involved - bringing back in to focus positive options which have been unimaginable during treatment."
Recovering from the long-term impacts of treatment extend far beyond the physical. Research shows that 90% of young people in recovery from cancer feel isolated and over 60% are worried about the impact on their education or future employment. Providing the opportunity to participate in a team activity alongside peers with similar experiences can really help individuals improve their ability to plan a future.
From May to September the voyage will visit over 60 towns and ports where the crew, many sailing in their local area, will take part in events and activities, catch up with others who have been supported by the Trust over the past 14 years and visit friends and supporters throughout the UK. At every stage during Round Britain 2017 the Trust will be inviting local communities to be a part of the adventure.
Since the Trust's inception 14 years ago, they have supported 1,559 young people in recovery from cancer. However, for every one young person the Trust can support there are nine they cannot. This ambitious team challenge aims to change that by encouraging more people to get involved.
Dame Ellen also said: "The Trust aims to rebuild young people's confidence through positive, shared experiences. The local welcomes to the crew, wherever you are in the UK will be a huge part of this experience. We would love everyone to be part of the adventure and get involved, every individual moment, throughout the UK will make difference. And to ensure we can reach more young people who need support in the future, please share our story on social media."
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