Two years ago, I had witnessed the start of the Ultra-Trail Du Mont Blanc. I left Chamonix with the goal to run this epic race in 2018. It became my dream and I turned the journey towards it into my personal ascend of Mount Everest. A few weeks ago, I signed up and I read about the opportunity to support a charitable organisation, as part of the admission and registration process. My goal is to raise EUR 2000,00. While running more often than not is an individual sport, I like to add a team element to my sport by supporting social causes. I want to use my undertakings as an outlet to mobilize people and to open their eyes to important issues. I have previously raised money for the European refuge crisis in 2015 and since the beginning of the year, I have been running in the name of Oceanic Global to protect our oceans. Every year, UTMB teams up with a number of different organisations to offer athletes an opportunity to run the race by raising funds for a charity of their choice. Though, it was not easy and is certainly not fair to select one cause from a field of highly important issues, I had to decide. I opted to run for A Chacun Son Everest.
Over 160.000 children are affected by cancer or leukaemia every year. In France, this horrible disease affects around 2.000 children, of which up to 80 per cent recover. Cancer is the most common illness that causes the death for children. There are various elements that play a role in the positive treatment of such a serious illness. The importance of the psychological management during or after the treatment is being one of them. It is critical to encourage those young people to believe in the healing of their illness and to instil confidence in their journey.
“A Chacun Son Everest” translates into “Everyone’s Everest”. It builds a symbolic parallel between the difficulty of ascending the highest summit of our planet and that of the path to overcoming cancer. The disease often leads to a loss of confidence in one's physical abilities, which is exactly what “A Chacun Son Everest” tries to prevent and bring back. The ascent of Mount Everest requires patience and determination, courage and will and the time in Chamonix shall help the children to mobilize those exact energies towards reaching their personal summit, i.e. beating this horrible disease.
Each year around 14 weeks of training for children are organized in Chamonix. Those restorative stays offered in Chamonix provide children with comprehensive, psychological and physical support. The goal is to help them in this difficult phase by allowing them to regain self-confidence, to reconcile with their bodies, to share their experiences with other patients and to find energy of life for their next chapter in the future. The week is built around the values of sport, where effort and surpassing one’s abilities helps the individual to reach unimaginable achievements. The activities offered throughout the week are all leading toward the final ascent of the summit and focus on the mindset of winning champions. They allow the childern to realize that they possess all the necessary qualities: courage, willpower, determination, hope, envy, and many more.
A Chacun Son Everest was founded in 1994 by Christine Janin, a doctor and mountaineer. She is the first French woman to reach the roof of the world, Mount Everest (8848m), on October 5, 1990, and the first woman in the world to have reached the North Pole without mechanical means or sled dogs on May 4, 1997. After her expedition at Mount Everest, she set out to become the first European to complete the Seven Summits in 1992, which means ascending the seven highest summits of each continent (Vinson, Denali, Elbrus, Kilimanjaro, Mount Carstenz and Aconcagua).
On her return from this extraordinary world tour, Christine met Hélène Voisin, director of the school at the Trousseau Hospital in Paris and offered to meet the children at the Hospital to share her stories. Her experiences with the children, lead her to discover that there is a parallel between the difficulties encountered to conquer a summit and those experienced to overcome the disease. Christine Janin then met Professor André Baruchel, Head of the Department of Hematological Pediatrics at the Saint-Louis Hospital in Paris, in the early 1990s. Shotrly after they met, they set up the first courses in the mountains in 1994, which allowed several children suffering from cancer and leukemia to make their first steps towards regaining self-confidence. A Chacun Son Everest was born.
Since its inauguration, the entire organisation and adventure weeks for children are funded by the generous donations from the private and public sector. I am fascinated by the work that Christine and her team have been pulling together for more than a decade and I feel privileged to be able to support them. It is an incredibly important cause and I hope to play my little role in helping those young boys and girls to reach their personal summit of Mount Everest.
If you are interested in helping children ascend their personal Everest and encourage me on my mission, please donate as much as you can:
Alternatively, if you prefer to donate via bank transfer, please get in touch by filling out the form below and I will provide you with further instructions: