SEPTEMBER is Childhood Cancer Awareness month, and the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust is using it to highlight the loneliness and isolation young people experience during and after their treatment.

As many as 83 per cent of young people said they felt lonely during their treatment.

Often, they said people in their lives did not understand what they were going through, and treatment could be much worse when no-one around them was able to relate.

Speaking about her recovery from acute lymphoblastic leukaemia, 17-year-old Emmie Smith, who set sail with the trust on the Isle of Wight, said: “I feel I’ve been waiting for so long just to talk to someone similar.

"I feel like coming here, all of my worries have just drifted away, which really helps."

The Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust is a national charity that supports young people, aged eight to 24, to rebuild their confidence after cancer.

When treatment ends, the trust’s work begins, because for many young people, simply picking up where they left off before their diagnosis isn’t possible.

The after-effects of a cancer diagnosis are not just physical.

Young people often see their school lives disrupted, a change in their social situation, and a significant loss of confidence.

Earlier this summer, the trust launched the #Unspoken project to give young people the space to share issues they struggled to discuss outside of their trips.

The trust has invited young people to get involved in Childhood Cancer Awareness Month by using the #Unspoken hashtag on social media, joining the conversation and sharing their stories to help raise awareness.

The trust, which recently received a grant from the People’s Postcode Lottery to fund its work, has helped more than 650 young people this year.

It has taken them on sailing trips from Cowes, from Largs on the west coast of Scotland and hosted stays at residential activity centres across the UK.

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