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Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust lays course for 2021

by Karenza Morton 17 Sep 16:35 BST
The Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust has started looking ahead to how it will support young people in recovery from cancer in 2021. © Martin Allen / Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust

The Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust has revealed its plans to be there for every young person in recovery from cancer, whatever happens in 2021.

The Trust empowers young people aged 8-24 to embrace life after cancer treatment through sailing and outdoor adventure, but the pandemic led to all on-the-water activity being cancelled this year. Instead, the Trust has run a successful Virtual Summer, a programme of on and offline social, wellbeing and career support activities to ensure any young person who needed it could still get the charity's support.

With COVID still with us, Frank Fletcher, Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust CEO, insists that although everyone at the Trust is excited about the prospect of getting back on the water in 2021, expectations have to be realistic. That is why the Trust has been exploring all the eventualities it could face next year - from delivering trips as normal at one end of the spectrum, to the UK being in 'lockdown' and running another Virtual Summer at the other.

Frank explains: "Along that spectrum there are a number of possibilities and we have identified the risks and control measures for each. These include what a vaccine and/or a robust testing programme might enable us to do; how we could run socially distanced yacht trips and/or outdoor adventure residential weeks; and if regional socially distanced activity days on the water could bring young people together if we're not able to bring them to us.

"We have also considered how we will manage if our capacity to offer places to everyone is impacted by social distancing and/or there are differences in, or changes to local regulations, including between Scotland and England. We will need to remain agile in this constantly changing landscape.

"But the crucial thing is whatever happens in 2021, we will be here for every young person that needs support. Because COVID has amplified feelings of isolation, loneliness, anxiety, anger and fear experienced in young people undergoing cancer treatment. They need us more than ever."

To help achieve its ambitions to support as many young people as possible in 2021, the Trust launched its month-long Round Britain Your Way virtual event, to coincide with Childhood Cancer Awareness Month throughout September.

At the halfway point, there is still time to get involved and take on a challenge, either on your own or as part of a team. Whether you run, swim, walk, cycle or create your own challenge, you will have a huge impact on the life of a young person in recovery.

Frank concludes: "Back in March, we said no one had a crystal ball to predict the future. The future hasn't got clearer since then. What we do have though is the knowledge and confidence to start thinking positively about what could be possible. That is what today is about and it feels exciting just to be sharing our thinking."

For more information or to support the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust visit ellenmacarthurcancertrust.org

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