A young cancer survivor from Blackburn joined transformational sailing adventures with Dame Ellen MacArthur’s cancer charity which helped improve his mental health.

Shaheed Patel, 25, spent four days on a yacht with the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust in Largs last summer after he had been diagnosed with a pituitary tumour in 2020.

He said: “If you’ve had cancer, it can be especially difficult getting back into the swing of things.

"Just socialising, getting out there, doing activities, because of how much of a toll it takes on you mentally and physically.”

Lancashire Telegraph: Shaheed will be setting sailShaheed will be setting sail (Image: Ellen Macarthur Cancer Trust)

Shaheed was treated at The Christie in Manchester, and now, other young people in the North West who are living through and beyond cancer are being invited to join the charity this summer for their own life-changing experience.

The Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust is a national charity that takes young people aged eight to 24 on sailing and outdoor adventures to inspire them to believe in a brighter future living through and beyond cancer.

Reflecting on his week of sailing, Shaheed said: “It’s a really big confidence booster.

"Being able to learn how to sail shows that we are still just as we were, it’s just we’ve been through an ordeal.

"We can come back from it, get back into things, get back out there, meet new people, learn new skills. I never thought I’d ever be able to try a boat.

“Nobody on the trip has any qualms over talking about cancer, saying what they had, their treatment, because everybody has been through the same thing.

"It helped me improve mentally by clearing my head, letting me get away from my worries, and it just generally uplifted my mood.

“It’s special when you just stop the boat and it’s just slightly rocking with a light breeze. It’s just so calm. You can really just think and relax and let all your worries out.”

Through the charity’s sailing and outdoor adventures, young people gain a new sense of purpose and self-worth, rediscover their independence, and feel optimistic about what comes next in life.

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Founder and patron of the charity, Dame Ellen MacArthur, said: “We see it time and time again. Young people arrive anxious and isolated. But they leave feeling part of something, accepted, independent, and optimistic.

“We are only able to support as many young people as we do thanks to the players of People’s Postcode Lottery. Because of them, thousands of young lives have been transformed after cancer through life-changing sailing and outdoor activity adventures.

“This summer we will welcome hundreds of young people from right across the UK who need post-treatment support. We will be there for them and they will believe in a brighter future.”