Teenager takes to the waves

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A BRAVE teenager who suffers from a rare blood disorder put her troubles to one side to take part in a three-day sailing adventure.

Chelsea Brown, 18, was diagnosed with aplastic anaemia in 2008, but got involved with the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust, which aims to inspire young people’s recovery through sailing.

The condition, which causes blood cell production to break down, can be fatal if untreated and affects about 150 people in the UK every year.

But Chelsea, from Peterlee, did not let that stop her from taking to the waves alongside 20 cancer and leukaemia sufferers on a three-day yacht adventure around the Solent, off the Isle of Wight.

She said: “It’s been so good.

“I’ve never been sailing before and the skipper was fantastic.

“I would definitely come again.

“I enjoyed it all but one of the highlights was crashing round on the jet skis.

“Meeting new people in the same boat as you is a positive thing, you’re not on your own on trips like this and no one judges.”

After undergoing treatment at the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle, Chelsea finished her treatment in 2010.

She took part in the sailing project earlier this month.

The trip set sail from Cowes, with the young people spending two nights on board the boat and navigating their way through the Solent.

They stopped off at several ports to give them the opportunity to test their new-found nautical skills.

The trust was founded in 2003 and aims to rebuild patients’ confidence by giving them the opportunity to test themselves in a supportive environment.

The charity strives to give youngsters the chance to take part in a unique and life-changing opportunity.

Dame Ellen broke the record for the fastest circumnavigation of the globe in 2005, completing her feat in 71 days.

The sportswoman was full of praise for those who took part.

She said: “These young adults are truly amazing.

“They face experiences that no one should ever have to go through, yet they do it with the biggest smile on their faces.

“They are truly inspiring.”

A mother whose child took part said: “It has never been the cancer that has worried me but the depression that came with it.

“She had lost her self-confidence and had a very low self-esteem, but the Ellen MacArthur Trust has changed all that.”

Twitter: @SunderlandEcho