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Charity soccer match for Clara

Category: Special Price for Social Engagement

Fire department: SDIS 45 du Loiret (Orléans, France)

Operation: Charity match

My name is Mickael Pelletier, I am 38 years old and I am a professional firefighter in the Loiret department. I am President of the “Root Secours” association and a member of the “Pompier Entraide Internationale” association.

For many years now, I have set up and organised events at festivals or concerts within various clubs/associations for firefighting staff. My first humanitarian mission was a visit to a refugee camp for Syrians in Jordan, and it really made me realise that everyone can do something to help in their own way. That was my best experience so far. In April 2014 I created an association called Root Secours with two friends, Julie who is a professional firefighter and Virginie who is the wife of a firefighter, to organise events with the aim of helping other people.
We work with any associations, which have a humanitarian or mutual assistance goal and would like to raise their profile or to raise funds. This involves the following activities:

  • Helping associations to organise events.
  • Creating events on our own initiative which are intended to benefit a previously chosen association.

During 2018, we have been contacted by the parents of the young girl, Clara, who is 4 years old and suffers from a serious illness: hypotonia.

Since she was a year old, several therapists have monitored her progress and recommended that she should attend the Essentis centre in Barcelona, a rehabilitation centre, which provides an alternative form of intensive physical therapy. The treatment lasts for two weeks and costs € 4,000 including care and accommodation and transport costs, none of which is paid for by social security or health insurance.

Clara's parents do not have the money to pay for this course of treatment themselves.
Their story moved us greatly and we decided to give them our support.

Therefore, in June 2018, we organised a football tournament involving 28 teams and a total of almost 250 people who came to play in order to show their support and to raise money.
There were also a large number of volunteers  who watched the games in marvellously sunny weather. It was at the right time of year, on the day we broadcast the second round of the World Cup. We managed to raise 1,900 euros, which we sent to young Clara's parents: this money will pay for part of her course of treatment in Spain.  
Clara's story
On the day she was born, she was diagnosed as suffering from hypotonia; she was then transferred to the intensive care unit at the "Clocheville" children's hospital in Tours. She was put into an induced coma in order to protect her organs while attempts were made to find out exactly what she was suffering from. She had very low levels of oxygen in her blood. The professor at the hospital in Tours finally established that she was suffering from convulsions or "spasms". Then over a period of nearly 2 years, she had to go into hospital several times in order to undergo various anti-epilepsy treatments because she suffered a relapse after each treatment. Clara receives weekly physical therapy, psychomotor therapy, speech therapy (to help with her swallowing), and orthoptic therapy (to help with her vision), and she has daily breathing exercises because hypotonia makes it difficult to swallow, which means that food "goes down the wrong way" every day.

She is now 4 years old. She has been able to hold her head upright since April 2017 thanks to increased neuromuscular stimulation. She is unable to sit or stand on her own and she cannot speak. The motor skills therapy sessions have however enabled her to move all her limbs and to turn onto her side.