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Teen cancer survivor Corey enjoys getting back on the water

Corey Foster, 18, enjoyed five days of sailing, high ropes and archery with fellow cancer survivors last week.

Corey, from Orton Wistow, was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukaemia when he was 13 years old.

But thanks to the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust, he's joining other young people aged eight to 24 in seeing that there can be a bright future living through and beyond cancer.

From July 19-23, Corey and seven other young people from across the UK spent time at Bradwell Essex Outdoors, making friends and sharing their stories in order to feel less alone and anxious after their diagnosis.

Loneliness, isolation and anxiety experienced by young people with cancer has been amplified by Covid-19 and the subsequent lockdowns.

Corey, who first sailed with the Trust in 2019, said the year had had a big impact on his mental health, particularly the lack of socialising he was able to do.

He said: “I had to shield at the start because of my immune system, which made me more worried, because I was seen as a vulnerable person. The anxiety was the worst part.”

But he said he was grateful for the opportunities provided by the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust.

He said: “This has just been an incredible week and I’ve gained so much. 

“It's been me talking about my story, and listening to everyone else's, and it's just good to open-up to everyone. 

“All of us have had cancer and I've gained friends, I've gained trust in more people, and I've gained back my social skills because I've been able to talk to people more.”

The Trust organises sailing and outdoor activities for young people where they can meet others who have had similar experiences.

These activities allow youngsters to rediscover their independence, find a sense of purpose and self-worth and realise what they are still capable of. 

For many young people with cancer, picking up where they left off before their diagnosis is not possible, but the Trust aims to inspire them to believe that a bright future is possible.

Corey said: “This was my second trip, and it was a big deal because my first trip helped me a lot with understanding my story and that I'm not the only one that has been going through cancer.

“It’s hard when you suddenly come out of hospital, and you are kind of alone. You lose people you thought were there for you and it makes you feel a bit down. 

“But the Trust makes you feel like one big family. After everything that's happened this year, it's nice to have had that little something to look forward to.”

The Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust was founded by the record-breaking round-the-world yachtswoman in 2003. 

It is there for anyone who is struggling or could simply do with a bit of support, however long off treatment they are. 

Visit ellenmacarthurcancertrust.org for more information.