Sail­ing trip is big boost for brave young can­cer bat­tler

Macclesfield Express - - FRONT PAGE - KAREN BRIT­TON

AY­OUNG boy who is re­cov­er­ing from a rare can­cer has taken a spe­cial boat trip to give him a taste of sail­ing.

Christo­pher Ain­ley, 10, went through months of trau­matic hos­pi­tal treat­ment af­ter be­ing di­ag­nosed with rare blood dis­or­der myelodys­plas­tic syn­drome in July 2013.

His fam­ily re­alised some­thing was wrong when he com­plained of tired­ness and had large bruises which would not heal.

Tests at Royal Manch­ester Chil­dren’s Hos­pi­tal showed he had low lev­els of platelets and red blood cells in his blood and af­ter months of painful wait­ing for Christo­pher and his par­ents Gill and Richard and brother Jack, he was di­ag­nosed with the rare con­di­tion.

It meant his bone mar­row was not work­ing to keep his blood healthy and a search be­gan for a suit­able donor.

Christo­pher, who lives on Brampton Av­enue and at­tends Bollinbrook Pri­mary School, was lucky that four donors were found and a 22 year old Ger­man stu­dent was picked as the best fit.

Christo­pher had chemo­ther­apy be­fore the trans­plant and spent months in iso­la­tion af­ter the op­er­a­tion. His blood grad­u­ally be­came nor­mal and he was fi­nally able to go back to school and play with his friends.

Now he has been on a four day yacht ad­ven­ture with the Ellen MacArthur Can­cer Trust to give him a boost.

Record-break­ing Bri­tish sailor Dame Ellen MacArthur launched the trust to re­build con­fi­dence in young peo­ple who have had can­cer and leukaemia.

Christo­pher joined other chil­dren on a 40ft yacht on the Firth of Clyde in Scot­land, mak­ing stopovers to test their skills.

He said: “It was great to meet new peo­ple on the boat and we will def­i­nitely stay in touch. I re­ally en­joyed sail­ing and I’d love to sail with the trust again.”

Christo­pher learned how to steer, put sails up, knot ty­ing and nau­ti­cal terms on the trip.

Mum Gill said: “Christo­pher had a bril­liant time. He found it tir­ing but loved meet­ing new peo­ple.

“He loved sail­ing and we’re look­ing for places around Mac­cles­field where he can do it again.

“He is very ac­tive and loves sport so it was hor­ri­ble see­ing him un­well.

“It was a fright­en­ing time for Christo­pher when he was ill but he has been so brave. We are so lucky we found a donor.

“He’s been through so much and trips like this give him a real boost, to coun­ter­act some of the bad times with happy mem­o­ries.”

●● Christo­pher with his par­ents Gill and Richard and brother Jack

●● Christo­pher Ain­ley loved his sail­ing trip

●● At the helm

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