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Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Teenage and Young Adult (TYA) Cancer Services

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Ellen MacArthur Sailing Trip

June 2017

Ayala sailing

When first being told about the sailing trip by a team member from the TYA service, I didn’t take the offer seriously and shrugged it off as just another thing I wouldn’t do.

Not because I didn’t appreciate the offer, but because I didn't like the thought of spending four days with complete strangers in a place that I couldn't easily leave or get picked up from.

However, after talking it through with family, friends and looking through leaflets and the website online I decided to put my name forward and soon received confirmation that I would be going on the trip in June.

The closer it got to going, the more regret I felt for accepting to go because it was for sure something that was out of my comfort zone.

It was the only time where I would ever go away with people I had never met before (in the past, there had always been at least one person I knew and so found comfort in that).

On 19 June I met Ruth (Youth Support Coordinator for the TYA Team) at Oxford train station where we waited for Rosie (a nurse from OUH) and Elliot who was someone else going on the trip. When we got off the train we waited again for everyone else so that we could get on the ferry as a whole group.

The journey altogether was fine and I met some new people on the way over to the Isle of Wight: it was the first real chance I had to get to know people. Everyone I spoke to seemed nice and willing to talk which was useful considering we were going to be spending the next four days with each other.

There isn't enough time to talk about everything that happened on the trip and I'll keep it brief by just outlining some of the parts that really stood out for me.

The first of these is absolutely the people I met over the course of four days and the connections I had with people were completely different than what I had expected before going.

Everyone was kind, funny and just easy to get along with, making friends wasn’t a task and something that just ended up happening, whether this be through playing cards at the end of each night, relaxing and working together whilst sailing or taking part in sports like rounders and volleyball (definitely one of the best parts about the trip in my eyes).

Aside from the social aspects of the trip we were also given the opportunity to go on a speedboat along one side of the island which was great fun and the weather was perfect for it also!

We were also shown and allowed to the sail the boats ourselves as well as letting down and pulling up the sails and learning to tie new knots - useful when on a boat.

As a result of everything we had learnt everyone was given a 'RYA Start Yachting' certificate which was honestly a bonus to wrap everything up at the end of the 4 days.

Overall the trip has encouraged me to go take up opportunities for other experiences like the 'Find your sense of Tumour' event which was something I had strictly decided against in the past as well as the return to sail that is also offered by Ellen MacArthur.

Generally speaking, this experience has changed my view on trying new things and has made me believe more in the motto that you should 'say yes to every opportunity that life gives you'.

I can only hope enough that others will also put their fears aside and go on the trip and have just as an amazing experience just like I know myself and others have.

Ayala