Summary of Léman hope 2023 Sailing trips: An Unforgettable Adventure for 60 Young Cancer Survivors

27 July 2023

The Léman hope 2023 Sailing trips were a resounding success, once again providing an enriching experience for 60 young cancer survivors during the month of July. Transcending cultural and linguistic barriers, the survivors sailed in an atmosphere of sharing and solidarity aboard 15 sailboats on the crystal-clear waters of Lake Geneva. Under the guidance of professional skippers, the young participants hoisted the sails, steered the boats, and undertook various tasks that helped them regain confidence and a sense of freedom.

Over the course of five days and four nights, they set sail for various destinations such as Pully, Évian, Vieux Rhône, La Tour de Peilz, and Ouchy. During this journey, our young aspiring sailors ventured away from their familiar surroundings and were met with beautiful conditions.

Supervised by experienced skippers and caring instructors, our young sailors had the opportunity to rediscover their autonomy through sailing. Lake Geneva can be a place of healing and hope, as testified by 14-year-old Emma: “It was an incredible experience to sail; it gave me a feeling of freedom.” This kind of experience allows them to explore a new world in which they are immediately empowered. When Melanie says, “While sailing, we unfurled the Code 0 (a very light sail). We managed to reach 4 knots (7.5 km/h). I was able to play around with the sail and feel a sense of power rising within me,” the mission of Léman hope sailing trips truly comes to life. Sophia’s brother, Nicolas, who also joined the sailing trips, seems to have found his calling: “I want to buy a boat and become a skipper for Léman hope.”

Beyond navigation, the days spent on the lake were marked by challenges met with determination, spirited water battles, and shared laughter. Nights at anchor, gazing at the stars, created magical moments filled with camaraderie and companionship. Léman hope also provided the opportunity to meet other young people from various cantons, overcoming language barriers to create genuine connections, not to mention the mascots on board, indispensable members of the crews! “It’s important to be with others who have experienced cancer because we are all connected by the disease. Each person can share their experience and thus unload an enormous burden. Others listen with attention and compassion,” says emotionally a 17-year-old young “survivor”. 

At the end of the 2023 edition, the founder of Léman hope, Esteban Garcia, emphasizes the importance of this project: “The Léman hope Sailing trips are experienced as an adventure that bears fruit in the long term. The young people gain confidence through significant moments, each at their own pace and according to their own experiences. That’s why we are committed to offering this adventure to all young cancer survivors in Switzerland every year until they reach the age of 21.”

The entire Léman hope team extends warm thanks to the skippers, instructors, host ports, and all the volunteers for their valuable commitment, which made it possible to offer this unique adventure and create a strong positive impact for these young individuals.