Beckton man sails around Isle of Wight courtesy of cancer charity

Jay sailed around the Isle of Wight with a cancer charity. Picture: Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust

Jay sailed around the Isle of Wight with a cancer charity. Picture: Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust - Credit: Archant

A young man from Beckton who is recovering from cancer has been taken sailing round the Isle of Wight by a charity.

Syed Jahid Ahmed, known as Jay, was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma when he was 11-years-old and had to receive two years’ or treatment at University College Hospital London (UCHL).

He was one of 24 young people invited on the four-day sailing trip by the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust, a charity set up by and named after the former sailor who previously set the world record for the fastest solo circumnavigation of the globe.

Jay, 21, said that having the opportunity to meet other young people who have also had cancer was a great experience.

“When I was really, really poorly in hospital there wasn’t time to interact with anyone and everyone was so ill,” he said.

“The last year has been quite difficult, so, working with my doctor, I wanted to take this opportunity to meet people who have gone through the same thing, but not in the context of a medical environment.”

A spokesman for the charity said “the unseen mental and emotional after-effects of cancer are as difficult as the physical” and many survivors struggle returning to their normal routines after treatment.

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Jay added: “Living on the sea was the best thing. Everyone has one thing in common - what they have been through. I made new friends, and without having to say how you feel they just know how you feel.

“You can talk to them and now I think it is better to talk about how I am feeling, even if it is just to talk to myself.”

The trust, which was launched in 2003, is a national charity that uses sailing to rebuild the confidence of cancer survivors and has worked with more than 1,900 young people, with 660 set to sail with the charity in 2018.

Jay added: “Confidence to me is knowing I can be vulnerable and sometimes just think and contemplate without always having to demonstrate outwardly that I am confident.

“I can just sit by and reflect on my situation and still be okay and happy.”