A LISS teenager who beat cancer enjoyed the experience of a lifetime when she took part in an epic sailing challenge.
Tallulah Shepherdly was one of eight young people in recovery from the disease who tackled the 120-nautical mile 11th leg of Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust’s Round Britain event, from the Isle of Wight to Dartmouth, aboard its 44ft yacht, Moonspray. The 2,400-mile sailing relay celebrates cancer patients’ recovery, achievement and potential.
Launched by history-making yachtswoman Ellen MacArthur in 2003, the trust rebuilds confidence after cancer and uses sailing to support, empower and inspire young people aged eight-24 to embrace their future with optimism.
Between May and September around 100 young people are taking part in the 2017 event. Up to five young people join the crew for each leg. Three of Moonspray’s full-time crew have also been through treatment and have received the trust’s support.
Tallulah and her crewmates left the trust’s Cowes base on Sunday, August 6, after taking in the start of the 2017 Rolex Fastnet Race, before heading west to Poole and along the Jurassic Coast before making overnight stops in Weymouth and Portland.
They then enjoyed a cruise along the Channel to Brixham before the short hop around Berry Head and up the picturesque River Dart, arriving Dart Harbour on Friday, August 11.
Tallulah, who is on the trust’s youth board, which helps the charity understand what young people want from trips, first sailed with the trust in 2011 after receiving treatment for a Wilms’ tumour, a type
of kidney cancer, as a toddler in 2001.
She said: “On my first trip I felt such relief and elation at being able to get what I was feeling off my chest. It helped me understand what I’d been through a lot more and was validation for how I felt. Everyone can relate to each other.
“I’ve gained more confidence, both in general and sailing situations, and have also enjoyed sailing at my local club near home since my first trip with the trust.
“My shyness has always stopped me voicing my opinion, but I wanted to join the Youth Board and give my input because the trust has helped me so much.
“It’s a good thing to have on my CV but, even more, I’m so proud I’ve got the confidence to have signed up to be part of the Youth Board as three years ago I never could have imagined being able to do this.”
Round Britain 2017 ends next month where it started, at the trust’s Scottish base in Largs.
This year the trust will work with almost 600 young people in recovery from cancer. But for every young person it currently supports, there are nine it cannot.
However, via its campaign, #tell9people, and by sharing the stories of the young people taking part, Round Britain 2017 aims to raise awareness of the trust’s work publicly and within hospitals and medical support networks around the country, many of which the young people will be visiting during the voyage.