Paris Saint-Germain’s foundation supports the Eclats de l’île charity to bring laughter to sick children on Reunion Island
Paris Saint-Germain’s foundation is helping sick children on Reunion Island with the “Parce que rire à l’hôpital, c’est vital!” (Because laughter is vital in hospitals!) programme, set up by the Éclats de l’île charity in two university hospitals in Saint-Denis and Saint-Pierre.
The Parisian club has donated 10,000 euros to a programme run by the Éclats de l’île charity on Reunion Island, whose aim is to encourage sick children to play and laugh in order to help them cope better with their illness.
Professional comedians, circus artists, actors and musicians are selected and specially trained by Rire Médecin (a charity that sends clowns into hospitals in mainland France). They all undergo several weeks of training, both in their chosen art and with regard to the hospital environment: how it works, the hygiene regulations and, above all, the patients’ specific treatments.
Once a week, clowns from Éclats de l’île perform a personalised show for every child being treated in Félix Guyon University Hospital in Saint-Denis and in Saint-Pierre University Hospital, according to their state of heath, their mood and their wishes at that particular time.
Yves Reguerre, chairman of the Éclats de l’île charity, said: “Nowadays, hospital clowns are seen as members of the healthcare staff for paediatric oncology on Reunion Island. Much more than a simple distraction, I believe they are a real tonic for these patients, because treating someone does not only involve making a diagnosis and administering medicines, but rather taking care of the sick person in all ways possible. Because we are dealing with sick children, the playfulness and laughter provided by these clowns make the child feel carefree again, which is vital to their development and wellbeing. This makes their treatment more straightforward and easier to face. The children and their families, as well as the medical staff, witness this every day.”
Sabrina Delannoy, Deputy Director of the Paris Saint-Germain Foundation, added: “At the instigation of our President, Nasser Al Khelaifi, since last year the Paris Saint-Germain Foundation has carried out charity actions all over the world. To follow on from our two programmes in the Central African Republic and Madagascar with Action Contre la Faim, we have now decided to join forces with the Éclats de l’île charity on Reunion Island, whose project won us over because it provides young patients with priceless moments of fun and joy. These happiness professionals bring a breath of fresh air into these children’s lives through games, music and imagination.”
Dr Mathilde Jehanne, from the haematology/oncology department at Félix Guyon University Hospital in Saint Denis, added: “Éclats de l'île’s visits to our department give children a break from their treatment, a moment of pure joy that is vital to their wellbeing and, therefore, decisive in their fight against illness. Just like the chemotherapy that we administer every day, laughter is an undeniable therapy that the Éclats de l'île charity gives us every week.”
About Éclats de l’île:
Along the same lines as Rire Médecin, a charity based in mainland France that sends clowns into hospitals, in 2003 Anne Tixier and Yves Reguerre founded Éclats de l’île on Reunion Island. The first clown visits began in January 2005, in Saint-Denis University Hospital.
Today, 7 clowns represent the charity. All of them are professional actors, who auditioned and were selected by Rire Médecin. They have to adapt their performances to each child, their age, their illness and their mood. To do this, they start their day by chatting with the medical staff and then pay a visit to every patient in the department individually.
Over the course of the day, every patient is treated to their own special performance, in which the clowns strive to make the patients feel like children again. A real injection of laughter and escapism, these visits provide a breath of fresh air for the children, as well as for their families.
Since 2005, more than 40,000 children have benefitted from a visit from these clowns!
Éclats de l’île has around 550 members and donors, who support the charity and help the project to thrive.
About the Paris Saint-Germain Foundation:
The Paris Saint-Germain Foundation was founded in 2000 and was the first corporate foundation to be created by a French sports club. It provides support for vulnerable or sick children, young people and disadvantaged communities. When Nasser Al Khelaifi took over as president of the Foundation in 2012, he enabled it to step up its work and an endowment fund was created to receive donations. Over the last 19 years, more than 230,000 children and young adults have benefitted from the programmes set up by the Foundation and/or the Paris Saint-Germain endowment fund. These two organisations run educational and sporting programmes in France and abroad, using sport and its values to help youngsters to learn, blossom and become upstanding members of the community. Whether through their social and professional inclusion programme, their ROUGE & BLEU Schools, their support for refugees or their donations to charities, Paris Saint-Germain draw on the educational and psychological benefits of sport to support sick or disadvantaged children.
Eva Duprat – firstname.lastname@example.org / +33 6 37 32 08 08
Éclats de l’île: Fanny Le Fustec – email@example.com/ +262 6 93 405 855
To follow on from our two programmes in the Central African Republic and Madagascar with Action Contre la Faim, we have now decided to join forces with the Éclats de l’île charity on Reunion Island, whose project won us over because it provides young patients with priceless moments of fun and joy.