International Child Cancer Day

15 February 2021

This summer, 24 young people in recovery from cancer will sail on Lake Geneva (Lac Léman) aiming for a true restart to their lives by rebuilding self-confidence and embracing their future with optimism.

Lausanne, 15 February 2021 – Léman hope is growing. After taking 7 young people in recovery from cancer on board a sailing boat for 4 days and 4 nights in 2020, the Chiki Foundation is pleased to announce that this year 24 children and adolescents will benefit from this 4-day ‘reset’ trip designed to help them on the road to recovery and a return to a “normal life”. The benefits of such an experience are clinically proven.

« Now I feel ready to do new things!” These words pronounced last September by Aurélie, 13 years old, at the end of the first Léman hope trip, resonated as an encouragement to grow this project and do everything possible to enable more and more young people in recovery from cancer to benefit from it. After a successful first edition with 7 participants, the Chiki Foundation is pleased to announce – on this International Childhood Cancer Day – that 24 young people affected by this terrible disease will sail for 4 days and 4 nights on board sailing boats on Lake Geneva in the summer of 2021.

After the devastation of this terrible illness which strikes another 250 or so children every year in Switzerland, the return to a “normal life” is often difficult. The physical and psychological consequences of cancer, hospitalisation and treatment, can still be felt long afterwards.

With these trips, Léman hope wants to help these children and adolescents to look at their future with optimism and confidence. During these 4 days, young people build confidence by making friends with others who have had similar experiences – often for the first time – in an environment where everyone understands each other. This fun and enriching adventure represents for them the opportunity to rediscover independence away from home, learning new skills and catching up on some stolen childhood years. Most importantly, they stop feeling like they are the ‘only one’.

Of course, all this has a cost. But the smiles on the faces at the end of the first Léman hope trip and the benefits of such an experience are priceless. The first edition of this great adventure was entirely financed by the Chiki Foundation. In order to offer this same “life-changing experience” to other young people after cancer and to perpetuate this project, Léman hope and the Chiki Foundation are calling for donations. Our objective is clear: to take 250 children on a Léman hope trip every summer.

With the support from CHUV and ARFEC.

Léman hope is supported by the Centre hospitalier universitaire vaudois (CHUV) and the Association of Families of Children with Cancer in French-speaking part of Switzerland (ARFEC). Indeed, the doctors of the paediatric oncology department of the CHUV were immediately enthusiastic about the project and are convinced of the need for such a project and its benefits for young people after hospital treatment ends. As for the ARFEC, their support in terms of experience, logistics, family needs and network is precious.

 The first Léman hope sailing trip took place between the 18th and 21st of September this year, and took seven 13 year olds onboard two sailing boats on Lake Geneva. On each boat, they were accompanied by a professional skipper and an ARFEC instructor who had been touched by cancer as a child. A paediatric oncologist from the CHUV ensured a permanent onshore presence.  

Created by the Chiki Foundation, Léman hope is inspired by the British charity Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust (EMCT) founded in 2003 by the famous sailor Dame Ellen MacArthur. Léman hope was born out of a meeting in Lausanne between Esteban Garcia, founder of the Chiki Foundation, skipper Jérôme Clerc, director of Realteam Sailing, and Mark Turner, co-founder of EMCT. Offering this same opportunity to young people in recovery from cancer in Switzerland seemed obvious to them, all three passionate about both sailing and Lake Geneva.

 Here is what they had to say about it

“It’s the best experience of my life!”
Leno, 13 years old

“I didn’t recognise Aurélien when he came back! He had grown up, got tanned, his hair had grown. He was exchanging with the other children, interacting outside of me and I thought it was incredible.”
Isabelle, Aurélien’s mother, 13 years old

“It helped me to have confidence in myself.”
Océane, 13 years old

“I don’t recognise my son, these 4 days have transformed him! On Friday, I handed you a Jayson that was closed and not very lively. On Monday, it was an open and very communicative Jayson that came home. His mind was full of stars, the same stars we found when we watched together the pictures of the trips a few days later.”
Isabel, mother of Jayson, 13 years old

“Now I feel ready to try new things.”
Aurélie, 13 years old

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Media contact
Pascal Chavent, Cabinet Privé de Conseils, 022 552 46 30,

About the Chiki Foundation
Created in 2011 by Esteban Garcia, the Chiki Foundation‘s mission is to support children through education, sport, nature and family by developing educational and child protection projects. It has notably enabled the opening of two childcare structures in Lausanne and La Chaux-de-Fonds. The Chiki Foundation has its headquarters in Lausanne. It is recognised as being in the public interest and therefore benefits from tax exemption. The Chiki Foundation is supervised by the Foundation Supervisory Authority (FSA) of the Canton of Vaud. Its accounts are audited by PriceWaterhouseCoopers.