Free holidays for sick children

The challenges of mental well-being for sick children and their caregivers

At L'ENVOL, our mission is to offer sick children the possibility to have fun like any other child and to offer families a place to exchange and recharge, by understanding the issues our beneficiaries face. To assess how our medicalized respite stays help them, we concretely measure their impact on their mental and psychosocial health through questionnaires sent to children at the end of the stay, and then to parents a few months later.

These data reveal the incredible transformative power our programs have on the lives of our beneficiaries. Thus, L'ENVOL addresses 3 main challenges to improve the mental and social well-being of sick children and their families

<>  LEAVING THE SELF-IMPOSED BARRIERS 
"At L'ENVOL, I learned to be more confident and courageous" Malak, age 9 
Despite the challenges associated with their illness, 64% of children succeed in surpassing their limits during L'ENVOL stays. They discover an unsuspected strength that boosts their confidence in themselves and their bodies, through our adapted activities. 
RECOVER TO OTHERS 
"At L'ENVOL, I learned benevolence and to have fun despite the worries outside", a 16-year-old teenager 
At L'ENVOL, brothers and sisters of sick children benefit from a privileged space for exchange during the stay dedicated to them. 94% of siblings are happy to have met other children who share a similar situation following the stay. They feel free to share their feelings and concerns with young people who understand their daily family life. 
RECOVERING AN (ALMOST) NORMAL LIFE 
"This stay really gave me a breather, without worry, and that's priceless", a mom 
By creating positive memories with parents of sick children, the stays act as a source of inspiration and emotional support in the face of stressful situations, daily challenges and difficult times. 80% of parents say that recalling their weekend at L'ENVOL helps them to overcome difficulties with greater resilience and determination. 

For sick children but also for their close caregivers, these stays represent a precious bubble of air and the chance to enjoy a rich experience. For this reason, L'ENVOL warmly thanks all its partners and Captains who support our programs!  

"All in the same team! adapted sport honored by L'ENVOL

Since 2018, the activities offered by L'ENVOL have been punctuated by a theme: stars, animals, comics, travel.... On the occasion of the Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games, the theme of our programs over the years 2024-2026 is sport, but not just any sport! Adapted sport is in the spotlight, and our slogan for these next two years of seriousness and fun is: "All on the same team!"

This choice stems from an observation, that sport is less accessible for sick and disabled children than for able-bodied children. According to the Ministry of Sports and the Olympic and Paralympic Games, 70% of people with disabilities say they are interested in sport, but only 47% take part in regular sporting activity. 
Or, sport is a lever for social inclusion. What's more, adapted physical activity is part of recreational therapy and enables patients to regain confidence in themselves and their bodies despite their illness, as paediatric rheumatologist Professor Alexandre Belot explains:"Illness is often experienced as an obstacle to engaging in physical activity. Our young patients also have "the right" to go to the gym, to play a team sport and to have a sports coach! It's a fantastic lever, especially for teenagers, to facilitate continuity of care. "
Sporting activities are therefore an integral part of L'ENVOL stays, as they help to improve physical and mental health: climbing sessions, sand yachting, hiking and group games are regularly organized on our stays and convey values such as mutual aid, cooperation and surpassing oneself. Following an adapted rock-climbing session, Clara, 13, for example, declares: "I've made some great discoveries such as rock-climbing. It feels good not to have to explain all the time why I'm restricted in my activities and to be understood."
 
According to the figures and testimonials from our 2023 impact questionnaires, 72% of children feel stronger at the end of a stay, 64% didn't think they'd be able to achieve all they did despite the illness, and this is partly thanks to the sports sessions offered by L'ENVOL. 

These sports activities are tailored to each child, his or her abilities and the goals he or she sets, and supervised by our qualified teams and trained volunteers, to enable acare experience that's both safe and in good spirits

Christmas at the hospital: an enchanted interlude!

L'ENVOL has been bringing the magic of Christmas to hospitalized children since the beginning of December!
Distribution of personalized gifts, appearances by Santa Claus and magicians: moments of joy for children far from their families during the holidays.

Matteo and Pierre-Hugo, a brothers' holiday to forget illness

Pierre-Hugo and Matteo were born prematurely at 7 months' gestation, which is when the doctors realized that Matteo was born without an anus. The diagnosis was made a few days later, Matteo had Vacterl syndrome*.
 
The two brothers grew up separately: Matteo in hospital between Necker, Bullion and various rehabilitation centers and Pierre-Hugo at home. The parents had to divide up the management of the children due to hospitalizations in Paris, the family residing in Essonne. Pierre-Bruno looks after Pierre-Hugo, while Nora looks after Matteo. 
 
Nora discovered L'ENVOL when looking for a summer camp for Matteo. Conventional structures refuse to welcome him, as his illness requires a lot of daily care. It was the first time that Matteo could go on vacation with other children and discover new activities that had remained inaccessible to him until that first stay at L'ENVOL. 
 
A few months later, Pierre-Hugo joined a L'ENVOL stay dedicated solely to brothers and sisters of sick children. He talks about it with emotion, it was an opportunity for him to feel understood, to find his place again, to laugh a lot, to surpass himself, to have more self-confidence and above all to be happy
 
Pierre-Bruno and Nora are unanimous: their children return metamorphosed, full of strength to face their daily lives punctuated by Matteo's illness. In October 2023, the two brothers came together for the first time on one of L'ENVOL's Fratries stays, enabling them to strengthen fraternal bonds tested by illness!

Where illness prevents, L'ENVOL opens up the field of possibilities 🎈 update

Where illness prevents, L'ENVOL opens up the field of possibilities 🎈

After enjoying their vacation days at L'ENVOL, our 142 youngsters returned home with their heads full of memories! On the first day of each stay, everyone arrived with their own challenge: spending several days away from their parents, meeting new people, discovering new activities, new places.... And yet, at the end of each week, the goodbyes were difficult, a sign that they had accomplished much more than simply attending a summer camp. In addition to offering them high-quality medical care, this multi-pathology stay enabled them to gain in confidence, autonomy and resilience. Small victories that they will return to in their daily lives, and which will help them to live better with the disease, the better to overcome it.

L'ENVOL does the impossible for Liloo!

The L'ENVOL team will have worked for 2 years to ensure that 12-year-old Liloo would be welcomed on a L'ENVOL stay without taking the slightest risk to her health. Living with a small intestine twice as short as average, Liloo spent most of her childhood in hospital and can't feed herself. Every other day, therefore, the amount of nutrients she needs must be administered directly into her bloodstream. The little girl remains hooked up to her feed for 12 hours each time.

For Liloo, attending summer camp is quite impossible. But L'ENVOL has risen to the challenge.
Frequent exchanges with the hospital's referring doctors to understand medical needs, recruitment and training of volunteer doctors and nurses able to administer care, adaptation of activities such as climbing or theater so that Liloo can excel in the same way as any other child, setting up the route to reach the place of stay... The L'ENVOL team has been mastering these necessary steps for over 25 years.
Although Liloo's case is particularly complex, it is not an isolated one. The L'ENVOL team prepares to accompany each child for an average of 6 months before his or her stay. It's a medical and human challenge that the association's educators, nurses and organizers take up every year, so that sick children find strength and confidence in their fight against illness.

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