Today, Dame Ellen MacArthur announced today at the London Boat Show, a very special project that will see 100 young people in recovery from cancer taking part in an extraordinary challenge - sailing around Britain in a national relay, celebrating achievement and realising potential.
Round Britain 2017 is being run by the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust, a national charity which takes young people aged between eight and 24 from across the UK on sailing and other water-based adventures to help them rebuild their confidence after cancer treatment.
In order to help more young people in recovery from cancer in the long term, the voyage aims to increase national awareness by visiting towns and cities around the UK during the four-month endeavour. Building new skills and forging long-lasting friendships, her crew will also visit cancer treatment centres meeting people still in recovery and discussing possibilities after treatment.
Dame Ellen MacArthur said: "Round Britain is about a lot more than sailing - it is about rebuilding the confidence, self-belief and independence of those involved - bringing back in to focus positive options which have been unimaginable during treatment".
"The Trust aims to rebuild young people's confidence through positive, shared experiences. This challenge will allow us to extend awareness across the country, encouraging every local community along the way to get involved and make a real difference. Everyone can become part of this story by welcoming the crew when they visit your home port. These local welcomes, wherever you are in the UK, will be a huge part of this experience. We would love everyone to be part of the adventure and get involved. To ensure we can reach more young people who need support in the future, please share our story on social media."
Ann, a young person who has sailed with the Trust over several years, said: "It was so easy to talk to the other young people. We were a close-knit team who spent a lot of time together and I could really open up. I knew they understood what I was saying without me having to explain it. The friendships are different to my other friendships; more intimate because we all have this thing in common only we know. My teachers saw the change in me. I was more easy going, I joined more clubs and was getting other people to join in too. I stopped being the kid in the corner."
The Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust's work plays an extremely important part in the long-term recovery of young people: Research shows that 90% of young people in recovery from cancer feel isolated and over 60% are worried about the impact on their education or future employment. By providing the opportunity to participate in a team activity alongside peers with similar experiences the Trust can really help individuals improve their ability to plan a future by developing new skills and forging long-lasting friendships. This project will allow the crew to visit cancer treatment centres across the UK to meet those still undergoing treatment to discuss the future and how they can get involved with the Trust.
From May to September the voyage will visit over 60 towns and ports where the crew, many sailing in their local area, will take part in events and activities, catch up with others who have been supported by the Trust over the past 14 years and visit friends and supporters throughout the UK. At every stage during Round Britain 2017 the Trust will be inviting local communities to be a part of the adventure.
To find out more about Round Britain 2017, view some of the ports the crew will be visiting and follow the young people's journey, click here