YOUNG people who sailed around Britain in recovery from cancer are amongst those getting involved in an epic new virtual challenge event launched by the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust to transform young lives after treatment – Round Britain Your Way.
Running throughout the whole September to coincide with Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, Round Britain Your Way invites anyone to run, swim, walk, cycle or create their own challenge to collectively travel the 2,400 miles around the British coastline.
The Trust has twice circumnavigated Britain crewed by young people in recovery in 2009 and 2017. Now the aim of Round Britain Your Way is for people to take on a challenge to, together, travel the equivalent distance sailed on each of those two voyages.
Victoria Sanches, 23, completed the first two legs of Round Britain 2017 – from Largs to Glasgow, then to Oban – having been supported by the Trust after treatment for craniopharyngioma, a type of brain tumour. Now a volunteer, Victoria plans to climb her first Munro – a mountain in Scotland over 3,000ft – for Round Britain Your Way.
She said: “It will be a new challenge, especially with my symptoms from treatment such as chronic fatigue. But if I don’t try, I’ll never know. The Trust has helped me so much. They taught me I could achieve way more than I think I could. By helping the Trust, we are helping young people whose lives they support when they are at their lowest.”
The Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust is a national charity that empowers young people aged 8-24 to embrace their future after cancer. When treatment ends, the Trust’s work begins as for many young people, picking up where they left off before their diagnosis isn’t possible.
Young people will need the Trust more than ever in the wake of COVID-19. Isolation, loneliness, anxiety, anger and fear are all experienced by young people and their families during and after cancer treatment. COVID has intensified every one to unimaginable levels.
But the Trust is expecting its income to drop by a third this year due to the impact of the pandemic. Round Britain Your Way will raise vital funds so the Trust can still be here for those young people who need support after their treatment ends.
Sam Doré and Milly Upson will be taking their 18-month-old son, Zak, out for enough walks to cover 80 miles across September. Sam was supported by the Trust in recovery from a nasopharyngeal carcinoma – cancer affecting the part of the throat connecting the back of the nose and mouth – as a child, before becoming a volunteer and sitting on the Trust’s Youth Board.
He took part in the Falmouth to Cardiff leg of Round Britain 2017 while Milly was the Round Britain 2017 project co-ordinator. Milly continues: “The Trust has had a massive impact on both our lives over many years.
“The transformation you see in timid young people at the start of a Trust trip to the confident young people that leave is amazing and we want to be able to help more young people experience that on their journey to recovery. It’s an amazing opportunity.”
Everyone can do the challenge they want – the activity they want to do, the distance they want to complete and timescale they want to do it over. Do it as individuals or as a household, together socially distanced with friends or as a virtual team. And make it as challenging or fun as you want!
Round Britain Your Way costs nothing to enter and there is no minimum fundraising pledge. To find out more and to get involved go to roundbritain.ellenmacarthurcancertrust.org/