Young cancer survivor goes on ‘inspirational’ sailing trip

Megan Saward got to take part in an inspirational sailing trip with the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust

Megan Saward got to take part in an inspirational sailing trip with the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust. - Credit: Archant

It was all hands on deck for an 11-year-old who went on an ­adventure of a lifetime to rebuild her ­confidence, following her battle with cancer.

Megan Saward, of Church End, Great Dunmow, was one of 25 ­youngsters selected to go on a four-day yacht trip, sailing around the Solent, with the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust.

The inspirational voyage is for eight to 18-year-olds in recovery from cancer, and offers them the chance to rebuild their confidence while ­meeting people who have been in similar circumstances.

Megan, who attends Friends School, in Saffron Walden, was ­diagnosed with Wilms Tumour when she was seven – she finished ­treatment at Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge, in August 2011.

She was delighted to be one of the youngsters chosen for the trip – and even enjoyed chipping in with all the chores on board, including cooking and helming the boat.

She said: “It was 10 times better than I thought. I was worried it would be all serious but that was totally not the case, it was so much fun.

“I got to steer the boat and actually tried out everything. Pulling the sails up was tough but good for teamwork. The funniest moment was the crazy water fight that we had between the boats.

Most Read

“I made some great new friends. The key is to be outgoing and be yourself ... it’s a lot of fun.”

Sailing onboard 42-48ft cruising yachts, the trips provide a chance for the young people to test themselves in a safe and supportive environment, encouraging them to work as a team and get involved in everything.

Dame Ellen, who tries to spend at least one day with every four-day trip over the summer, said: “The mental and social fallout from cancer can be just as devastating as the physical illness.

“Everything we do is about building confidence, self-esteem and having fun together.”