Cancer survivor sails with Ellen MacArthur

Dame Ellen MacArthur and Lillie Killick
Dame Ellen MacArthur and Lillie Killick

A Hailsham teenager who battled leukaemia has taken an inspirational trip with sailing champion Ellen MacArthur.

Lillie Killick, 17, from Hailsham, finished treatment for Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia in March.

The disease is a form of leukaemia, and affects the white blood cells.

Lillie, who was treated at the Royal Marsden Hospital in London, joined the crew of Morning Dew to sail around the Solent in a four-day adventure with the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust.

She also got to meet Dame Ellen MacArthur, who broke the world record for the fastest solo circumnavigation of the globe by yacht in 2005.

Lillie said: “I had never been sailing before the trip, I was looking forward to trying something new.

“The trip has been amazing.

“My favourite part was steering the boat.

“I learnt so much and really liked meeting new people and sharing similar experiences.

“I would love to come back or get involved in other water sports in the future.”

Sailing onboard 42-48 foot cruising yachts, the trips provide a chance for young people to test themselves in a safe and supportive environment, encourages them to work as a team and get involved in everything from helming the boat to cooking.

Lillie, along with other youngsters, navigated the waters of the Solent, and then went on to various stopovers including Yarmouth and Newtown for a barbeque and water fight.

The group went on a whirlwind speedboat ride around the Isle of Wight Needles and then sailed back to Cowes.

Dame Ellen MacArthur joined the group on Wednesday for a tour of the Yarmouth Lifeboat.

She said: “These young people are truly amazing.

“They face experiences that no child should ever have to go through, and yet they do it with the biggest smile on their faces, they are truly inspiring.”

Launched in 2003, the aim of the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust is to give young people in recovery from cancer the chance to rebuild their confidence through sailing.

Celebrating its 10-year anniversary, the trust has grown into a national charity.

There are many ways you can support the trust with time, donations, or services.

If you want to become a Friend of the Trust and help it to continue to provide support and encouragement to young people in recovery from cancer you can visit the trust’s website at You can also call telephone 01983 297750.