North East teenagers have learned the ropes with record-breaking yachtswoman Dame Ellen MacArthur.
Jordan Conley, 19, Daniel Adams, 21, and Chloe Laws, 22, joined the long-distance sailor on a five-day yacht trip with the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust.
Jordan, who lives in County Durham and is currently being treated at Great North Children’s Hospital at the Royal Victoria Infirmary, Newcastle, for Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia, said: “It was so nice to meet people who have been through a similar experience as I have, it just made me feel normal and a part of something.
“The sailing environment brings everyone together as a group. It boosts confidence as some people are shyer than others.
“Coming on the trip has taught me to take everything in my stride and if you get the opportunity to do something, then do it!
“Its not like you get these chances everyday. You have nothing to lose.”
Sailing onboard 42-48 foot cruising yachts, the sailors navigated the waters of the Firth of Clyde, taking in stopovers including Port Bannatyne on the Isle of Bute, before sailing on to the National Sailing Centre at Great Cumbrae for a BBQ.
Jordan added: “I have never been sailing in my life before. I was told about it by the hospital and other people I know who have done it persuaded me to get involved and I am so glad I did!”
Sunderland-born Chloe, who was treated at the hospital for T Cell Lymphoblastic Lymphoma in November 2009, said: “On the trip we have done a lot, including sailing the yacht, meeting lots of new people and living on the boat.
“If I had to choose a high point it feels amazing seeing people who have been through so much and look so well now.”
And Daniel, who is from County Durham and was treated for Hodgkins Lymphoma in February 2012, added: “My favorite part was having the opportunity to meet so many new people. It made me feel less alone meeting others who have been through similar treatment to me.”
Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust trips provide a chance for young people in recovery from cancer to test themselves in a safe and supportive environment, encouraging them to work as a team and get involved in everything from helming the boat to cooking.
Dame MacArthur said: “The mental and social fall-out from cancer can be just as devastating as the physical illness.
“Everything we do is about building confidence, self-esteem and having fun together.”
The Trust does not receive funding from the Government or NHS, so is reliant on donations. To donate visit www.ellenmacarthurcancertrust.org/index.php/donate