St Albans boy completes Round the Island Race after three years of cancer treatment
- Credit: photo supplied
An adventurous St Albans teenager has undergone a sea change after enduring more than three years of treatment for leukaemia, by competing in a yacht race around the Isle of Wight.
Jonathan Light, 14, who is a Year 10 pupil at Beaumont School, took part in the J.P. Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race, one of Britain’s largest participation sporting events.
He was one of 24 young people from across the UK sailing on board the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust’s five yachts participating in the race, in what were described as challenging conditions on the water.
Jonathan’s mum, Hannah, explained that the teenager was diagnosed with cancer at the age of 11 and only stopped treatment in April.
He had initially been diagnosed with norovirus but, Hannah said, “we knew he wasn’t well as he was losing weight, and was hardly eating anything, and he had no energy”.
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Hannah said that since his diagnosis: “Jonathan has had chemotherapy, including oral tablets and chemo into his spine – he’s had over 1,000 days of chemotherapy.”
She added: “The main aim of the Ellen MacArthur Trust is to give children either having treatment or recovering from it to experience sailing.
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“Jonathan has a good stomach so he didn’t get seasick!”
Apart from his participation in the race marking the end of his gruelling treatment, it was also special as Jonathan has been unable to take part in school trips, because of the chemotherapy.
Hannah explained: “He couldn’t even have a night away from home. What makes this experience ideal is that there is an oncology nurse there during the trip. Also, other members of the crew have had cancer themselves, so he was with people who have gone through similar experiences.”
Jonathan, who was joined by four other young people on board the yacht Moonspray, said: “It was a really great experience. Ever since I started sailing with the trust, I have wanted to do Round the Island Race and now I have done it.”
He said the experience had taught him about “independence, because things don’t happen unless you try things.”
To support the trust, visit www.ellenmacarthurcancertrust.org