Univers Fusalp

MEETING | Christine Janin – A woman with an extraordinary journey

 

INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY 2020

 

This new edition of International Women’s Day is an opportunity to bring women and men of all generations together around the same major project : gender equality and the empowerment of women and young girls. Getting involved and taking action is a battle that Christine Janin leads through her association À chacun son Everest !.

Since 1994, the association has welcomed children (and women since 2011) in remission from leukemia or breast cancer, to help them cope with the delicate phase of post-cancer that is fundamental in the healing process.

 

Who are you Christine Janin ?

I am a doctor, a Himalaya climber and the founder of the association À Chacun son Everest ! which will celebrate its 26th anniversary this year. Since 1994, which marks the date of the first stay organised for children, we have accompanied 4,561 children and 1,243 women on the road to post-cancer life.

You have decided to create À Chacun son Everest !. What did motivate you ?

I would speak about life path rather than motivation.

Medicine has allowed me to do anything. It was because I was an expedition doctor that I was able to go on my own expeditions and reach the summit of Everest, in particular, 30 years ago. From then on, a new chapter of life opened up and everything happened organically.

I fundamentally believe that you have to follow your intuition, listen to your heart, trust the universe and dare. After climbing Everest, I wanted to transform this experience, to make it benefit others. Coming down from Everest is complicated, both physically and psychologically.

We ask ourselves a lot of questions: what am I doing with this experience? How do I turn the downhill into something positive? I had to find the right tools.

The synchronicity of events has drawn my life path. When I came back from the seven summits, I had a decisive meeting: Hélène Voisin – School director of Trousseau Teaching Hospital in Paris – who offered to come and tell my stories to hospitalised children.

That was an overwhelming experience which gave birth to a crazy idea: I wanted to take these sick children to the mountains! The project has been refined, and the parallel between the difficulties encountered to conquer a summit and descend from it and those experienced when overcoming the disease and live after it has become obvious: À Chacun son Everest ! was born and we began organising the first stays.

What is the objective of the stays you provide? How does the Home organise itself ?

Listen, understand, exchange, share, support.

The stays are supervised by a medical and paramedical team, as well as outside professionals for supportive care (sophrology, massage, yoga, Qi Gong, etc.) and sports activities (mountain guides, monitors, etc.).

Finding a second wind, overcoming the ordeal of the disease, living with it and living better, regaining self-esteem and the desire to live to become an actor in one’s healing… this is the mission of À Chacun son Everest !

Each stay, twelve women from very different socio-cultural backgrounds, who do not know each other, live together and share something: their ordeal. Seeing the benevolence, the mutual aid, the bonds which are woven and endure well after the stay, we can say that the magic has happened.

Why is the post-cancer phase so delicate, so fundamental to proper healing, especially for women?

A woman recovering from breast cancer has generally undergone one or two years of a heavy and intense medical program, at the end of which she finds a great void. Everyday life takes over, as if nothing had happened, even though she is very weakened by the treatments, the physical and psychological suffering, and touched in the depths of her femininity.

It’s difficult, the symbolism is heavy. What to do with one’s story ? One’s fears ? One’s fatigue ? How to surpass one’s loneliness ?

To all these women who stay with us, we give attention, we express gratitude for the ordeal they have gone through and we accompany them in its transformation, so they can get something out of it. Something positive.

At the end of the stays, we are always amazed to see these women, who were so weakened by the disease, leave stronger, boosted, ready to take their life in hand.

When reading the testimonies of women who have stayed in your Home, three words often come up: kindness, emotion, energy. Is the main thing to put the human at the heart of the subject ?

We must help these women to refocus and regain their place in their family and in society, telling them that they have the right to take care of themselves. To do this, they must accept to let go, to be supported by those around them, stop taking care of others for a moment and learn to love themselves.

Self-love is one of the essential conditions for being well and living in harmony with others.

Since 2011, you have been helping women regain self-confidence, take control of their lives and autonomy, one of the essential pillars of gender equality. Let’s end on a positive note !

I would say that the actions carried out by À Chacun son Everest !, the micro initiatives developed by women all over France–often after their stay at the Home–the outbursts of solidarity and gratitude that we witness on a daily basis constitute a virtuous circle, a real message of hope.


Christine Janin and Alexandre Fauvet – CEO Fusalp

Discover the association À Chacun son Everest !
Christine Janin is wearing the VENUS jacket in Poudre color.


Photos credit : Karine Lhemon / Jérôme Gorin / Sébastien Champeaux / Sébastien d’Halloy –
À Chacun son Everest !