Tracy's Story

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On March 29th 2005, Trustee Graham Precey received an email from an exceptionally brave lady called Tracy.

Tracy had been diagnosed with an extremely rare form of sarcoma back in January 2002 just 18 months after the birth of her third daughter. Her email detailed some of the treatment she had undergone since that date, some of it extremely aggressive with the most distressing side effects.

In addition to the ordeal Tracy had been through, it soon became clear from her email how much the family as a whole were also suffering. Missing key family milestones and being too ill to do normal "mum" things was hard enough for Tracy, but equally tough on her three girls, not to mention her poor husband. The lowest point came on her oldest daughter's 13th birthday, when they received the news that all this treatment may not have been totally successful.

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Some two and a half years later, however, having pushed herself to reach some personal goals that most people would take for granted (like collecting the children from school), Tracy read about Sail 4 Cancer and sent her email enquiring, rather tentatively, if she and her family qualified for a reduced price holiday. They did!

They visited the Neilson Active Holidays Resort of Sivota in September 2005 for a week ? and, oh boy, what a week they had! They really made the most of all the wonderful activities on offer. Charlotte, now 15, learned to sail and was out on the water every hour possible, earning her a special award from the crew and the nickname of Pico Princess.

Kate celebrated her 8th birthday, and EVERYONE made a great fuss of her, with birthday cakes, ice creams - and even free sweets from the shopkeepers in Sivota. At 5, Chloe was a little too young for the activities, but had great fun being ferried around on the speedboats and splashing about in the pool. She loved her nanny and would happily have brought her home. Husband Steve participated fully in EVERY sport going both on and off the water ? including yoga!

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Tracy was the real heroine of the week however. "I still can't believe what I achieved at Sivota," she enthuses. Charlotte took her sailing, "As the eldest child she has really been through the mill with my illness, so it was great having her able to do something pleasurable for me. It's one of the hours of my life that I will always treasure." With help from Steve she tried windsurfing, managing to float with a degree of grace, but the highlight was attempting to water-ski ? and succeeding! "I never thought I would have the physical strength to do anything like that again." The whole family was utterly delighted.

Although they are so courageous, Tracy and her family are not unique. Sail 4 Cancer and Neilson jointly funded 72 holidays in 2005 for families with similar stories. In 2006 that number will be increased to 150, with the objective of giving more families affected by cancer much needed time to relax, recharge and escape from the realities of everyday life for a while.

© 4 Cancer Group 2018