Young survivor praises sailing charity’s support with ‘life after cancer’
PUBLISHED: 17:43 05 September 2018 | UPDATED: 17:43 05 September 2018
Friendship fallouts, homework, or sibling squabbles are just some of the worries you might expect of a typical nine-year-old.
But when Cassidey Nottcutts, who was diagnosed with a rare form of bone cancer aged just two, was nine years old she had more on her mind than most of her peers
Cassidey, now 13, and a pupil at Fakenham Academy, said: “When I was younger I was diagnosed with cancer affecting my bones.
“I was in and out of hospital with chemotherapy. I had a tumour on my head operated on and surgery to have it removed.”
Cassidey, from North Creake, had Langerhans Cell Histiocytosis from the age of two-and-a-half.
After a year of chemotherapy, she was given the all clear aged four, before the cancer returned a few months later.
Carina Notcutts, 39, Cassidey’s mum, said: “The last time she had the cancer she had to have two years of chemotherapy treatment, which took her to age nine.”
But now Cassidey gets the chance to feel like a normal child again, when she takes part in sailing with a national children’s charity, the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust, as she has since the age of 10.
Cassidey said: “It’s a lot of fun. We change what we do every year depending on what options are available.
“The first year I sailed around the Isle of Wight and we leaned how to manage it and do it all.”
But the real benefit of the Trust’s work is ensuring children who have had cancer don’t feel isolated from their peers.
Cassidey said: “I used to be the quiet one, but now I have loads of friends through the Trust.
“I get to meet other kids who have been through the same sort of thing and I stay in touch with most people.
“I don’t tend to tell people about it usually.”
The Trust take groups of children away for sailing adventures during the summer; normally for around five days.
Ms Notcutts added: “They did a special thing last year - an Around Britain Leg-to-Leg Sail and she got to take part in that.
“She’s done some amazing things with them.”
A spokesperson for the Trust said: “The Trust works with young people aged eight to 24 and uses sailing to rebuild confidence and support, empower and inspire these young people in re-engaging with education, employment, relationships, society and life after cancer.”