TWO teenagers battling cancer set sail on a special yachting trip, organised to ‘inspire recovery’ in youngsters.
Fay Turner-Paxton from Kimberley and Ashleigh Boag from Selston joined 22 others from across the UK on the four day trip, run by the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust.
The group, all battling either cancer or leukaemia, took charge of four yachts in and around the Solent waters off the Isle of Wight last week.
The teenagers navigated the waters of the Solent, giving them the opportunity to test their new skills on the water, and went to various stopover ports.
On the final day, the group enjoyed a barbecue and an evening on the beach playing games.
Fay Turner-Paxton, 17, finished treatment in September 2009 for Hodgkins Lymphoma, a cancer originating in the white blood cells.
She said: “It was amazing. I got to meet lots of new people, and learnt a lot of new skills. It’s really has made me feel more confident. I was worried I would struggle to get around the boats, but everyone has been amazing.
“Meeting new people who have been through a similar experience to me has been great, I can’t describe it. I have made a lot of new friends.”
16-year-old Ashleigh Boag from Selston, finished treatment in April 2010 for Ewings Sarcoma, a form of bone cancer.
She said: “I enjoyed everything about the trip but the best bit was the RIB ride in the speed boat and the water fights! When I first heard about the trip I was a bit nervous as I didn’t know what to expect, but the minute I arrived I forgot all that. If people want to talk about our illnesses and share experiences then we do, or we just relax and enjoy the sailing.”
The Trust was launched in 2003 by Dame Ellen MacArthur and takes young people in recovery from cancer and leukaemia sailing onboard 38 to 48 foot cruising yachts. The trips provide a unique experience for the young people, where they get the chance to test themselves in a safe and supportive environment.
Dame Ellen said: “These children are truly amazing. They face experiences that no child should ever have to go through, and yet they do it with the biggest smile on their faces, they are truly inspiring”.