“SHE IS a ray of sunshine on a cloudy day – exactly what was needed during 2020!” – this was just one of the glowing testimonials which has seen a Redditch woman named the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust’s 2020 Volunteer of the Year.
Wen Stone, a former pupil at RSA Academy Arrow Vale School, was presented with the Trust’s annual Luke Gilbert Volunteer of the Year Award in recognition of the difference the 31-year-old has made to the lives of many young people living through and beyond cancer over the past 12 months.
The Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust is a national charity that inspires young people aged eight to 24 to believe in a brighter future through sailing and outdoor activity.
When treatment ends the Trust’s work begins, as for many young people simply picking up where they left off before their diagnosis just isn’t possible.
Wen herself was diagnosed with Very Severe Aplastic Anaemia – or bone marrow failure – while in the first year of a BA in Fine Art at Cardiff Metropolitan University in 2010.
Within two weeks she had a bone marrow transplant and in five years had 148 blood transfusions.
During her recovery, Wen sailed with the Trust for the first time and for the past eight years has volunteered on trips across the country, supporting young people who have been treated for cancer.
She said: “It still seems a bit surreal winning the award.
“I’m massively grateful and humbled by it, especially when there are so many incredible volunteers at the Trust.
“With the past year looking and feeling so different, I was just doing what I always do…using my experiences to help make others’ experience that bit easier.
“Being able to still volunteer and bring some fun to those stuck inside brought me as much joy as I hope it did for them.”