One brave lad

Having fended off two bouts of leukemia, Daniel Monk is to set sail in the Clipper Round the World Race

Tuesday August 28th 2007, Author: Zoe Williamson, Location: United Kingdom
Having twice battled leukemia, Daniel Monk believes that the physical sport of sailing has helped him to survive the life-threatening disease. With plans to sail solo round the world within the next three years, Dan was introduced to the race by the Ellen MacArthur Trust and will become their ambassador during his 35,000 mile voyage.

“Dan has already dealt with challenges more difficult than many of us can begin to imagine, but has come through these challenges more focused and determined than ever,” said Dame Ellen MacArthur, Patron of the Ellen MacArthur Trust. “He is a wonderful person, a talented sailor and extremely committed and determined to take his sailing further. This Clipper Round the World voyage will give Dan the experience at sea he needs and we hope will be an instrumental step in the direction he wishes to go. Myself, and everyone at the Ellen MacArthur Trust wish him all the very best.”

It wasn’t until Dan was recovering from his first, nearly fatal attack of leukemia at 15 that he was first introduced to sailing. His doctors at University College London believed a physical environment would assist in his recovery and so put Dan in touch with the Ellen MacArthur Trust.

“I didn’t want to go when I was first told about sailing with the Trust as sailing wasn’t really my thing,” said Dan. “However, when I got there I discovered that being out on the water took my mind away from all the bad things that had happened to me. It was a great way of getting away from everything and I found myself really enjoying it and wanting to do more.”

Dame Ellen set up the Ellen MacArthur Trust in 2003 to give young people in recovery from cancer and other serious illnesses the chance to get out on the water. After being introduced to a similar organisation in France, Dame Ellen decided to set up a British version of the charity. Dan is one of many children who have benefited from the Trust and has been sailing with them ever since his first introduction. Having recently gained his Yachtmaster qualification Dan is now able lead some of the trips.

“I remember coming back from my first weekend on the water with the Trust and thinking that I wanted to be just like the skipper,” explained Dan. “Getting my Yachtmaster means that I’m now able to give something back and help other people like me.”

Dan brings to the Clipper 07-08 Race a considerable amount of sailing experience and a determination not to let anything get the better of him. After competing in the Round the Island Race in 2003 Dan fought his second bout of leukemia. Focusing on his desire to get back out on the water Dan successfully battled the disease again, despite being made to write a will because his chances of survival were so low.

Now he is a picture of health and following a week of racing at Cowes, Dan came to Clipper’s headquarters in Gosport to begin his Clipper Training. “My training at Clipper has been great and I’ve really enjoyed being out on the Clipper 68s,” said Dan. “I enjoy getting on different boats and trying to figure out how they work. The skippers that have trained me have been fantastic and I look forward to learning as much as I can from them during the race.”

In order to draw as much experience from the race as possible Dan will be getting on different boats for different legs. In doing so he will be able to experience first hand the varying tactics employed by the ten skippers and benefit from sailing with all of them. Dan will be on board Liverpool 08 for the first leg from Liverpool to Salvador and is looking forward to the race start.

“I’m really looking forward to my first circumnavigation,” said Dan. “It’s my three year plan to sail solo around the world and I think this race will help me make some decisions about this. What better way to go round the world the first time than racing with crew on the Clipper 07-08 Race?”

Funding for Dan to take part in this historic race has come in the form of the Philip Green Memorial Trust who will fund all of Dan’s sailing costs. The Philip Green Memorial Trust is a charitable organisation which helps sick and disabled children all over the UK and overseas. It supports welfare, medical and educational projects as well as helping individual children to lead a normal life. Trust supporters JPMorgan Asset Management will also be providing Dan’s support costs for the duration of his round the world voyage.

“We are absolutely delighted that Dan is taking part in the Clipper Race,” said Clipper Chairman Sir Robin Knox-Johnston. “He will be joining more than 400 crew members from all over the world taking part and I’m sure his inspiring adventure will encourage more people to overcome their limitations and live their lives to the full. By taking up the challenge of sailing round the world in Clipper 07-08 Dan is living proof of where a positive attitude can get you”.

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