A Ballymena 22-year-old was among 14 young people in recovery from cancer who recently took to the waves for an inspirational sailing trip.
Sharon Caldwell joined the crew of one of the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust’s yachts for a four-day adventure on the Firth of Clyde in Scotland from July 6-9.
For Sharon, who finished cancer treatment in May, last year, for Hemophagocytic Lymphohistiocytosis (HLH) at Belfast City Hospital, it was her first time sailing with the Trust.
“I was really nervous about coming on this trip, but the skippers and volunteers made it really easy for us to mix and get to know each other,” she said.
Launched in 2003, the aim of the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust is to give young people in recovery from cancer the chance to rebuild their confidence through sailing.
Sailing onboard 42-48ft cruising yachts, the Trust give young people a chance to test themselves in a safe and supportive environment, encouraging them to work as a team and get involved in everything from helming to cooking.
Sharon said: “If anyone was unsure about coming on this trip just like I was then I would tell them to go for it! As much as it annoys me to admit it, my mum was right to encourage me to come, I’m so glad I did.”
Dame Ellen, who tries to spend a day on as many trips as possible, adds, “The mental and social fall-out from cancer can be just as devastating as the physical illness. Everything we do is about building confidence, self-esteem and having fun together.”