Woman who battled cancer takes on 'inspirational' sailing trip

Watford Observer: Woman who battled cancer takes on 'inspirational' sailing trip Woman who battled cancer takes on 'inspirational' sailing trip

A 20-year-old from Bushey who battled cancer last year said a recent sailing trip has given her a new "lust for life".

Zeena Beale took part in an "inspirational" sailing trip with the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust, along with 29 other young people between the age of 18 -24 in recovery from cancer.

Zeena, who finished treatment last year for Stage 2B Classical Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, joined the crew of one of three yachts to sail around the Solent last week in a four-day yacht adventure.

The Mill Way resident was in her first year studying music at Cambridge University when she became unwell last March.

She said: "I put my illness down to stress from university, and it wasn’t until my sister came to pick me up from my second term and she noticed something wasn’t right.

"I was really tired all the time and had zero energy. As soon as I got home I went into hospital and got the diagnosis. I never in a million years thought I had cancer."

Zeena underwent four cycles of chemotherapy before being given the all clear in July.

Onboard 42-48 foot cruising yachts, the sailing trip was the chance for Zeena and others 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.

Zeena added: "I had never sailed before. It was absolutely awesome. Apart from the seasickness on the first day, it was a wonderful experience. It was great to learn by getting hands on and trying everything.

"I was worried about my mobility, which I had struggled with after treatment but I felt great.

"It was strange to think that a year ago I was undergoing treatment. It really put things into perspective, and how much I can achieve now.

"It was also nice to be with people who had been through similar experiences. I feel like there is nothing I cannot do now, the trip has given me a new lust for living."

Departing from their south coast HQ in East Cowes Marina, Isle of Wight on Monday the trip navigated the waters of the Solent, which took them to various stopovers including Yarmouth Harbour and the picturesque bay of Newtown Creek for a BBQ. Before putting their new skills to the test cruising back into Cowes.

Zeena plans to start her second year at University in October.

In their 11th year, the trust has grown into a national charity which relies on voluntary funding.
For more information on the trip visit: http://www.ellenmacarthurcancertrust.org

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