'She stood in the storm and when the wind did not blow her way, she adjusted her sails'
The wind in his sails
Martin was sailing before he turned five years old. His parents still sail regularly and impressively, his dad still windsurfs despite turning 80 years old at the end of last year. We've had 3 sailing boats in our 20 years together and I can say with some certainty that sailing is not for me but it is one of Martin's great passions.
We've had a ridiculous number of hobbies and interests over the years but never considered youth work as something we would enjoy. Circumstances led to us taking over running the youth club on a Sunday evening at our church for children aged 9-13. We didn't realise when we took it on that this would become the highlight of our week. The opportunity to have fun and get to know these inspirational young people has been a blessing and has opened doors for us to get much more involved in our local community.
It was through Martin's job that he first got involved with The Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust which combined his passion for sailing and working with young people. Dame Ellen MacArthur was on Martin's radar from 2001 when she raced single-handedly around the world in the Vendée Globe when she was only 24 years old! She took her fame, influence and passion for sailing and founded The Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust in 2003.
The Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust is a national charity that seeks to rebuild young people's confidence after cancer, using sailing to support, empower and inspire young people. The results of a recent survey brought a smile to our faces! To see the difference just one trip can have on these young people is remarkable and EMCT offers that support for as long as they require.
The Boy in 7 Billion by Callie Blackwell
This book tells the harrowing but inspirational story of Deryn and his mum, dad and brother and their journey with cancer. Callie recalls the impact of the Ellen MacArthur trip Deryn enjoyed after months of gruelling treatment:
'The boy I sent away on that minibus - a boy with no confidence, a shadow of his former self who was too scared to go outside in case he caught a bug or hurt himself - was certainly not the same boy they delivered back to me five days later.
The Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust gave me back my son.'
Tell 9 people
The Trust is currently using #tell9people to highlight that they only have funding to reach 1 in 10 of those young people who would be eligible to take part in an EMCT sailing experience. If you can help EMCT reach more young people please consider donating via the fortycubed page. Their website is full of stories of young people who have been positively impacted by their sailing experiences. As a trustee and volunteer on the occasional sailing trip, Martin has found that the young people also have a profoundly positive impact on him.