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Ellen MacArthur to take on Round the Island Race in celebration of her young person's cancer charity

by Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust 25 May 2023 15:38 BST
Dame Ellen with her crew - Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust © Martin Allen Photography

Dame Ellen MacArthur is taking on the challenge of Round the Island Race for the second year running, as her East Cowes-based young person's cancer charity celebrates its 20th anniversary in 2023.

She will take the helm of the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust's flagship boat Solent Hero for the Saturday 1 July race, and will be accompanied by up to 24 young people following their cancer treatment across four boats.

The Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust is a national charity that takes young people aged 8-24 on sailing and outdoor adventures to inspire them to believe in a brighter future living through and beyond cancer. When treatment ends the Trust's work begins, because for many simply picking up where they left off before their diagnosis just isn't possible.

The Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust is launching its #200for20 birthday challenge on the day of Round the Island Race, with Dame Ellen encouraging entrants to raise £200 for the charity's 20th birthday. Funds raised will go towards supporting up to 750 young people this summer - more than ever before - as they take their next steps after cancer treatment.

It will be 26 years since Dame Ellen first took part in Round the Island Race. She said: "I have wonderful memories of Round the Island Race. My first participation was in 1997 on a Mini Transat boat, and I've raced many times since, the most memorable perhaps was winning line honours in an Extreme 40. But the most meaningful has been sailing with the young people with the Trust, I absolutely love it and I can't wait to be on the water.

"Thank you so much to all the sailors in Round the Island Race for supporting the Trust this year. It's a special year for us, this is our 20th year, and it's a special year to be the Official Charity Partner of the race.

"It is unbelievable that it's been 20 years since we took those first five young people sailing with the Trust, and since then we have worked with almost 2,900 young people who have experienced the Trust's magic. I can't wait to see 24 happy faces on the finish line, having raced the race and had the most wonderful time."

One of the young people joining Dame Ellen on board is 21-year-old Athena Jamaranian, who was first supported by the Trust in 2019 after treatment for a brain tumour.

Reflecting on her time with the Trust so far, she said: "I'm a completely different person now. I used to really struggle with how I was feeling, especially when meeting new people. But I've met friends for life at the Trust. On my first trip, when I was struggling, everyone would help me out, we would all help each other out. Now, I feel like I'm able to get through problems by myself without needing someone there to calm me down.

"It's nice to have people around who understand you. You can talk to people there about anything that's going on and have deep conversations with them, real heart to hearts. I'm more optimistic now, I try and think of the good things in life. I'm a lot better at accepting myself and not focusing on the bad bits. I feel like I've grown a lot."

The Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust has been the Official Race Charity since 2005. Since then, over £300,000 has been raised for the charity, enabling hundreds of young people to access vital post-treatment support.

The Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust was founded by the record-breaking round-the-world yachtswoman in 2003. It is there for anyone looking for support, no matter how long off treatment they are. Visit https://www.ellenmacarthurcancertrust.org/ or follow @emctrust on social media.

Check out the Trust's JustGiving page for the Round the Island Race #200for20 challenge or search for '2023RTIR' on justgiving.com

Or you can text RACEFORALL to 70460 to donate £20. Texts will cost the donation amount plus one standard network rate message, and you will be opting into hearing more from the Trust. (If you would like to donate but don't wish to hear more, please text RACEFORALLNOINFO instead.)

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