This month I have chosen to interview Christophe Fordant from La Ligue nationale contre le cancer. I first met him when I volunteered to work with the Ligue, and thanks to his enthusiasm, good humour and dedication to Relay, I feel that he is making a real difference in France. Here's what he has to say about "Relais pour la vie"!
How long have you been working for the Ligue and what exactly is your job?
I work at the Ligue headquarters in Paris and I'm in charge of events within the organization. I've been doing this job since 2004 and also, since 2006, I have been the national Relay for Life coordinator, which means I coordinate and develop events with committees all over France.
What is your involvement in Relays? My job is to convince our network of regional committees to organize Relays, then to train them and be there to help them right up until the big day.
What is it about Relays that you like? They're a great event for the Ligue. They're fun and they mobilize people. They help us to get cancer out in the open, to make people face up to it in a positive way. We can reach out to the whole population with Relay and get them fighting for the cause. There's a festive element to Relays which helps take away the taboos surrounding people who have cancer by honoring them. It is a really meaningful event and it is a great tribute to the people we have loved and lost to cancer. Finally, I think it's an event which generates hope and positivity and above all, it's fun! Relay For Life is an event which fits with the Ligue and the fight against cancer perfectly, for all of the reasons I've just given. This is why I believe in the concept so strongly and do everything I possibly can to get committees on board with us.
What would attract people to this kind of event? I imagine you're talking about the general public here, so I would say that people are attracted to it first and foremost because it's a fun and festive event. You take part in a group and at the same time as you're enjoying yourself; you're also helping an organization fight for a cause, which, directly or indirectly, affects us all.
What can Relay For Life bring to people who take part? First and foremost, fun, then the chance to develop new friendships. It brings moments of sharing, pride and learning.
Can you give me a few examples of things that have been done thanks to money raised from Relays? Yes, sure: - Hot air balloon rides for young people suffering from cancer, - Help financing a centre for cancer patients, - Renovating a reception area for patients in a radiotherapy department, - Help financing support and care for patients, for example appropriate fitness classes, psychology sessions, beauty treatments and relaxation therapy.
How do you see the future of Relay in France and what are your hopes? The major factor at stake, as far as I'm concerned, is fundraising. We need to boost it, as we don't raise enough money yet with our Relays and this is the essential factor, which will help me convince my whole network to launch their own Relays.
Photos are of Christophe and his team caught up in the action of a Relay!
La Ligue nationale contre le cancer | Relay For Life Volunteer