Friday, August 9, 2013
A schoolboy recovering from leukaemia has been taken on an adventure of a lifetime by record-breaking world-renowned yachtswoman Dame Ellen MacArthur.
Griffin Howard, aged 10, from Exmouth, joined 27 other young people between the ages of nine and 17 in recovery from cancer for an inspirational trip with the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust.
Diagnosed in March 2009, Griffin finished his treatment in April 2012 for acute lymphocytic leukaemia (ALL) at the Royal Devon & Exeter Hospital.
And 16 months after his treatment finished he joined the crew of one of five yachts to sail around the Solent in a four-day yacht adventure.
Griffin, who sailed on the New Dawn along with four other young people, said: ”I have never been sailing before so it was a totally new experience.
“I was quite nervous beforehand because I didn’t know anyone on the trip, but it was the best thing – the whole week was really fun.
“We learnt how to hoist the sails and the different parts of the boat – my favourite part was definitely the water fight between the boats!
“It was interesting to meet the other people who had been through cancer, finding out their stories and seeing what they had been through. It is so easy to get to know people because everyone understands.”
Sailing onboard 42 to 48 foot cruising yachts, the trip provided a chance for the young people to test themselves in a safe and supportive environment. They were encouraged to work as a team and were involved in everything from helming the boat to cooking.
Departing from their south coast HQ in East Cowes Marina, Isle of Wight, they navigated the waters of the Solent, which took them to various stopovers including Yarmouth and Newtown for a barbecue and a water fight.
Launched in 2003, the aim of the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust is to offer young people in recovery from cancer the chance to rebuild their confidence through sailing activities and adventures.
Dame Ellen, who joined the young people for the trip, said: “These young people 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.”