Dame Ellen MacArthur admits she is “so excited” as up to 30 young people supported by her cancer charity prepare to take part in this year’s Round the Island Race for the first time since 2019.

The Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust has been the Official Race Charity since 2005, with young people, who have all been treated for cancer, racing as part of Trust crews in the iconic event run by the Island Sailing Club. Now, after Covid scuppered young people’s participation in 2020 and 2021, the Trust is once again set to have five boats racing on 25 June.

Ellen said: “We are so excited to have so many young people taking part in the Round the Island Race for the first time in three years. The race gives young people, who have sailed with us before, the chance to do something a bit more serious and really feel that sense of achievement from sailing such a long and thrilling course around the Isle of Wight.”

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 simply picking up where they left off before their diagnosis just is not possible. So, when treatment ends the Trust’s work begins.

Dame Ellen MacArthur with young people the Trust has supported living through and beyond cancer on board the Trust’s yacht, Solent Hero. Taken on 6 May for a special event at Royal Yacht Squadron in Cowes. Image: EMCT

Through the Trust’s sailing and outdoor adventures, young people gain a new sense of purpose and self-worth, rediscover independence and feel optimism for the future. They realise what they are capable of again – physically, mentally and socially – and stop feeling like ‘the only one’. They start to re-establish their place in the world and can believe in a brighter future.

Amongst this year’s Trust crew is 20-year-old Jessica Plumb, who first sailed with the Trust 10 years ago, following treatment for Optic Pathway Glioma, a type of tumour that occurs along the nerves sending messages from the eye to the brain. She has since enjoyed eight adventures with the Trust, including taking part in Round the Island Race twice, in 2018 and 2019.

Jessica said: “I was keen to do the race again this year because I want to be able to be around people who have gone through the same experience and to reunite with friends. I am looking forward to seeing all the other boats and to feel the excitement in the air, while I am in the race.

“The Trust has made such a difference in my life. I have gained back confidence and I have been able to make new friends who have gone through the same experience. Without the Trust I do not think I would be where I am now.”

Since 2005, more £300,000 has been raised by competitors and supporters of the race. To support the Trust, visit their fundraising page: https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/2022roundislandrace

Alongside the other Race Partners, the Trust will have a stand in the Round the Island Race Village at Cowes Yacht Haven all day Saturday and Sunday morning of the race weekend, with family fun and games.

Ellen added: “If you are around, please come down and meet the Trust team and find out more about what we do. The young people we support are absolutely incredible, truly inspirational and it is wonderful there are going to be so many of them out on the water for the race again.”

Ellen MacArthur founded the Trust in 2003. Since then, almost 2,800 young people have sailed with the charity after cancer treatment. For more information visit ellenmacarthurcancertrust.org or follow @emctrust on social media.

To enter go to the event website www.roundtheisland.org.uk, and if you have entered before, there is a pre-filled entry form containing all your details to save you time. For all the latest news on social media @roundtheisland and #RoundTheIsland #RaceForAll.

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