Elita goes Firth on sailing adventure

Elita McFarlane from Monikie, spent four days onboard a yacht thanks to the Dame Ellen McArthur Trust.
Elita McFarlane from Monikie, spent four days onboard a yacht thanks to the Dame Ellen McArthur Trust.

A young cancer survivor has undertaken an inspirational sailing trip on the Firth of Clyde where she got to meet other people her age and in her situation.

10-year-old Elita McFarlane from Monikie recently took part in a sailing trip with the Ellen McArthur Cancer Trust.

Last month Elita joined a number of other youngsters in recovery from cancer aboard a yacht which set sail on the Firth of Clyde on a four day adventure.

Elita finished treatment in December 2015 for Renal Cell Carcinoma at Ninewells Hospital.

She said: “One of my nurses mentioned the trip to me to see if I wanted to go and I thought it would be a really good chance to meet people who had also had cancer.”

Sailing onboard 42-48 foot cruising yachts, the Trust 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 from helming the boat to cooking.

Elita continued: “I’ve learnt how to sail a boat, had quite a lot of water fights and I have learnt how to work well as a team with the people on my boat.

“I can do more than I thought, because before this I believed I couldn’t do what other people could do.”

The youngsters departed from Largs before navigating the Firth of Clyde and stopping off at various places, including Port Bannatyne, before putting their new skills to the test and cruising back into Largs.

Launched in 2003, the aim of the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust is to give young people in recovery from cancer the chance to rebuild their confidence through sailing.

Internationally renowned yachtswoman Dame Ellen, who tries to spend a day on as many trips as possible, added: “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.”

The Trust is now in its 13th year and has grown into a national charity and came about after Dame Ellen was invited to spend a day with French charity ‘A Chacun son Cap’ sailing with youngsters recovering from cancer treatment.

Dame Ellen was inspired to create a similar project in the UK and now the Trust works with these youngsters, developing a supportive and benefical relationship.

Visit www.ellenmacarthurcancertrust.org