Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust


At the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust, we use sailing and outdoor adventure to help rebuild confidence in young people after cancer. 

Our work begins when treatment ends, helping young people between the ages of 8-24 through their recovery. On sailing trips they meet other people with similar experiences and are given responsibilities on the yachts, where they live, eat and sleep for four days.

Going through treatment means young people might miss school and lose contact with friends. Spending long periods of time in hospital can be very lonely, treatment can result in hair loss and scars from operations which can seriously knock their confidence.


Sailing with the Trust gives young people the chance to learn new skills and push their physical boundaries, often for the first time being in hospital like a world away. 

The trips help young people rebuild the confidence to get back into education and to make new friends, all with the permission to have fun and enjoy being the young people they still are.

Ernie Brown was nine when he went on his first trip. He has visual impairment after suffering from eye cancer from the age of three months 

He missed out on having a care-free childhood, his was replaced with hospital appointments and treatment plans. It was the staff at his hospital in Cambridge who suggested going on an Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust trip.

“It was interesting being around other children who’d had cancer, we instantly had something in common,” said Ernie. “And it was so much fun being on the boat. They were massive and went really fast, I was amazed.”



His mum was worried since he had never been away from home before. But he came back a completely different boy, she said. He had the most amazing time.


Ernie is 11 now and has taken part in a trip every year. In 2019 he will return for a five-day sailing trip off the coast of Scotland as the Trust continues to help rebuild his confidence after cancer. 

The Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust receives no government funding and does not charge any fees for their trips, they therefore rely 100% on voluntary funding. 

You could help more young people like Ernie in their recovery from cancer by fundraising for the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust, find out all the ways you could make a difference to young people’s lives HERE