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Young cancer survivor inspires Musto t-shirt design for Dame Ellen MacArthur's sailing charity

by Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust 17 Feb 2023 14:49 GMT
Lucy Long (centre) with a crewmate and her skipper © Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust

A young Bexley woman has been announced winner of the national Musto competition to design the official 2023 t-shirt for the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust, the charity that supported her following cancer treatment.

Lucy Long, 22, from Erith was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia when she was two and relapsed when she was seven. Her early life was marked by a loss of independence due to her illness, which led to being shy and closed off as a teenager.

That all changed when she set sail with the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust on the Isle of Wight in 2019. Meeting people her own age who had been through something similar to her had a huge impact at an important time in her life.

Lucy explains: "That trip was just before moving to university. It was a big transition for me, leaving my family, moving away from home. I don't think I would've managed it as well if I didn't have that week with the Trust. Sailing was a new and scary experience which I loved, so I knew I would be okay going to uni as well.

"The Trust has made it okay for me to realise what I've been through has been hard, but that I've also got people around me who can relate. That's really made me a more positive person in life."

The Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust inspires young people aged 8-24 to believe in a brighter future living through and beyond cancer. For many young people, picking up where they left off before their diagnosis isn't possible. So, when treatment ends, the Trust's work begins.

Lucy returned to the Trust in Largs last summer for her third adventure on the water. On why she keeps coming back, she said: "I've learned to be myself here and that that's okay. You gain so much independence from learning how to do the ropes and the fenders, and having the responsibility of helping the whole crew. It's great."

Musto have been the Trust's official clothing supplier since the charity was founded in 2003. They invited young people supported by the Trust in 2022 to create a design summing up the impact it has had on their lives.

There were lots of incredible and inspiring entries for the competition. Lucy's compass design stood out in the way it represents getting back on track and heading towards a brighter future.

About the design, Lucy said: "A compass is a vital piece of equipment when sailing. I outlined the Trust's logo at its centre because it reflects my cancer journey. The Trust has played a fundamental role in the growth of my confidence, independence, and optimism for the future, knowing I should be proud of what I have battled through.

"The compass was chosen as my life can continue to go in any direction, but I know I have the Trust at the heart of my journey and know I can always rely on them."

Through the Trust's sailing and outdoor activities, young people meet others who have had similar experiences - often for the first time, rediscover independence away from home, experience an increased sense of purpose and self-worth, and begin to realise what they are capable of again. Most importantly they stop feeling like the 'only one'.

The young people are inspired to believe in a brighter future as they feel accepted, independent, and optimistic. They can start to re-establish their place in the world by getting back into education or employment and reconnecting with their friends and families.

Built on over 50 years of engineering cutting-edge performance appeal, Musto are the world's leading sailing brand and a British leader in field sports. They use the same fabric technology that protects our ocean racers to keep you dry and comfortable whatever your outdoor activity. Find out more at www.musto.com

The Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust was founded by the record-breaking round-the-world yachtswoman in 2003. It is there for anyone who is struggling or could simply do with a bit of support, however long off treatment they are. Visit ellenmacarthurcancertrust.org or follow @emctrust on social media.

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