Zoe4life, for kids with cancer

Gold in September !

Did you know that September is International Childhood Cancer Awareness Month? Throughout the world during the month, important buildings and historic sites will be lit up in gold, the symbolic colour of childhood cancer.

Zoé4life has been leading the way in promoting this very special month in Switzerland for several years. Once again, Geneva’s Jet d’eau will be lit up in gold on the first Friday of September, our golden ribbon flags will be on display for a week across the Mont Blanc bridge downtown, and our banners will adorn several locations across Lausanne.

Thanks to our wonderful team of volunteers led by Audrey, our golden ribbons campaign is once again in full swing across the region. Our volunteers have been working on it for several months. Thousands of golden  ribbons have been prepared and will be available at shops, cafés and boulangeries throughout the Suisse romande region.

The list of shops and businesses where you can get your ribbon this year will be published on our website shortly.

Cancer is the leading cause of death from disease in children. Thanks to research, roughly 80% of children with cancer will survive at least 5 years after diagnosis. But many children will not have this chance. Some cancers, such as neuroblastoma, sarcomas, some leukemias, and brain tumours, have cure rates that are far too low. And for the children who do survive, the long term side effects are often quite heavy.

We can change this! Together, we can make a difference. Yes, cancer is a cruel and sad disease, and we’d rather not talk about it, we’d rather not know about it, we’d rather not have to think about it.

But we can all do something to make a difference. Together, we can change the face of childhood cancer: instead of being an unpleasant and disturbing subject, let’s talk about it and then defeat it.

Not long ago, bacterial illnesses killed people regularly, often young and healthy, and no one knew what to do about it. Then, researchers discovered antibiotics! An incredible discovery that changed the course of medicine and cured people who were once considered lost causes. Nowadays, we don’t even think about it anymore – how this horrible, embarrassing thing, called bacteria, could attack us anywhere.  Strep throat, infection, a bad cut? Today, we don’t even worry. We know we can beat it.

Is it sad and tragic that cancer attacks children every day in our country – our children, our future? Yes. But don’t be sad. These children don’t need your tears, even if your tears are justified. They need your support. They need you to take action.

We need to make research move forward and support families as they go through this battle.

Why? Because it can happen to anyone. Childhood cancer knows no economic, social or geographic boundaries. As you read this article, one more child is diagnosed. One more family enters the cancer world.

Let’s turn the month of September gold to support childhood cancer awareness.

How can you help?

  • Wear your golden ribbons.
  • Make a donation to Zoé4life to accelerate research and support families and children in our region.
  • Book a ticket for our comedy night on August 30th, where we will also be announcing our newest research project!
  • Register for the stem cell registry.
  • Donate blood or platelets.
  • Come join us on September 22nd in Rolle for Day4life our yearly event that allows everyone, young and old, to come together and show solidarity with these children and their families.

September will be GOLD!

Together, we can make a difference!


Dragon Boat Festival Team

Every year, Zoé4life participates in the PaddleforCancerSupport Dragon Boat Festival.

This year, the wonderful Jugy Okten, mom to the fabulous Lily, and founder of Bonju has agreed to be Team Captain, and organized a practice session at the Lac de Divonne. Although not all team members could make it, the enthusiasm was great, and the team is hoping to get one more practice session under their belt before the day of the races, September 2nd.

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Judy and Lily

In order to fund the boat registration fee, which goes to support the important work at ESCA Cancer Support, team members have been selling the amazing Chilly’s bottles., available online through the Bonju website. All proceeds from the sale of the bottles go to Zoé4life!

Funds can also be donated directly to ESCA Cancer support in the team’s name on their page:  https://www.paddleforcancer.ch/user/151/?profiletab=fundraiser

Here’s is some amazing drone footage filmed by childhood cancer survivor Samuel Leresche, who’s mom is on the team. The ending is spectacular as the boat looks like it’s floating on clouds…


Come join us for the day and cheer our team on ! ESCA Cancer Support is a very important partner of Zoe4life, and this is their major fundraising event of the year. As well, a portion of the funds raised by the festival will be donated by ESCA back to Zoe4life!

More information on the PaddleforCancerSupport  Festival website!


Zoe4life, 5 years and one million francs for kids with cancer in Geneva and Vaud

zoe4life helping kids with cancer


Zoe’s wish was to turn 5 years old

Five years ago, French-speaking Switzerland rallied around Zoé, a little girl with cancer. Despite heavy treatments, Zoe passed away peacefully in her mother’s arms two days before turning five. Today, the NGO Zoé4life, founded by Zoé’s family and friends, reaches it’s five year anniversary, and supports over a hundred families of kids with cancer every year.

A child dies of cancer every week in Switzerland

Pediatric cancer is the leading cause of death by disease in children. Despite recent advances in cancer treatment for adults, very few new drugs have been developed for children with cancer in the past decade. Like Zoé, many kids in Switzerland run out of treatment options, and a child dies of cancer every week.

Zoe4life actively funds research and advocates for better access to new innovative treatments. Thanks to the NGO’s funding partnership of the Swiss Pediatric Oncology Group, three new treatment protocols have opened which will help children who, like Zoé, would otherwise run out of treatment options in Switzerland. This represents an investment of more than 580,000 francs to date.

One hundred families supported every year

Zoé4life does more than support research. The NGO, which is recognized as a public service utility, also helps families of children at the HUG Geneva hospital and the CHUV in Lausanne. Over one hundred families are supported each year. The total cost of the family support program to date has surpassed. 350’000.- francs.

Projects for children being treated for cancer

Zoé4life also finances projects for children during their treatment. The Beads of Courage program, run by the Ligue vaudoise contre le cancer, the Active Toys Cart at the HUG hospital, a camp outing for a group of young people in remission – all are part of Zoé4life’s continuing support. Zoe4life also covers all costs associated with fertility preservation treatments for children whose medical team deem they require it. These costs are usually not covered by health insurance. Over 80’000 francs have gone to these projects to date.

Two major events taking place in 2018 to celebrate the five year anniversary

Two major events in the La Côte region, including a festival combined with team building corporate challenge called Day4life, and a Comedy Gala event at the Rosey Concert Hall in Rolle with six well known Swiss comedians will be opportunities for Zoe4life to raise funds as well as awareness. Geneva’s jet d’eau will be lit up in gold colours in September for Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, and the Mont Blanc Bridge will bear gold ribbon flags. September will also see a major awareness campaign taking place, with gold ribbons available in shops and cafés around the region.


About Zoé4life

Zoé4life is a registered non profit organization based in Switzerland and recognized as a public service utility, which works in the field of childhood cancer. It’s goals are to support families of children with cancer at HUG hospital in Geneva and CHUV in Lausanne, as well as research, and also fund projects for children during their treatments. http://www.en.zoe4life.org

Children with Cancer Left Behind by Research

Zoé4life at the center of an international campaign against childhood cancer.

When a child is diagnosed with cancer, people often comfort parents by invoking progress made in cancer treatments.
The reality is that in Europe, curing cancer is making progress, except for children.
Recently,the European Health Commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis remarked: “It’s of my biggest concern that the development in childhood cancer drugs has not been as effective as in adult oncology”.

Pediatric cancer is a public health problem and the leading cause of death by disease in children in Europe.

Currently, 80% of children with cancer in Switzerland and Europe survive at least 5 years after diagnosis. But two-thirds of pediatric cancer survivors will have treatment-related side effects that will have a serious impact on their quality of life.
Unfortunately, some cancers are still very difficult to cure and for some, a cure is still impossible.
For these, treatments have barely changed in the last fifteen years. No access to innovation means no hope.

Despite all this, financial support for research in pediatric oncology remains very low, both by public funds and by pharmaceutical companies.

This is a reality and it is unacceptable.

Yet, cancer is the leading cause of death by disease of children: a child dies of this disease every week in Switzerland. In Europe, 35 000 children and adolescents are diagnosed with cancer each year, and 6 000 XNUMX die from it.

Pediatric cancers are not a priority for drug companies who would not have a return on investment if they were to invest in them. The vast majority of chemotherapy drugs used in pediatrics are actually treatments developed for adults, dosed according to the weight and age of children. This way treating children is often not very effective in the case of some very aggressive cancers, and has serious consequences, sometimes causing disabilities for life.

Oncology is currently undergoing profound changes with more than a thousand drugs in development, new precision medicine treatments and immunotherapy which are very promising.

However, this significant progress for adults has translated into very little benefits for children, who lack access to innovative cancer treatments.

This is the reason Zoé4life is actively funding research programs for children with cancer so they can have access to innovation in secure pediatric clinical trials.

This is not enough: industrial investment in pediatric oncology is more than necessary to really scale up. However, the European Pediatric Medicines Regulation, as it is written today, allows pharmaceutical companies to develop anti-cancer drugs for adults without developing them for pediatrics, despite the fact that they could be effective for certain childhood cancers.
This constitutes considerable loss of opportunity for children with cancer.
In ten years, only two new drugs have been developed in pediatric oncology.

This is unacceptable.

In 2016, these shortcomings of the Regulation were denounced by the allianceUnite2Cure , of which Zoé4life is a founding member, with the support of thousands of people involved in the field of childhood cancer around the world. A resolution was passed by the European Parliament in December 2016 to improve the pediatric regulation. However, in it’s recently published Pediatric Assessment Report, the European Commission only recognizes the problem in pediatric oncology but does not propose concrete action until the next elections in 2019.

And yet it would be possible!

In the United States, the “RACE for Children Act” was voted by the Congress in August 2017 to require manufacturers to conduct clinical trials according to the mechanism of action of the drug, which will benefit children with cancer.
Why do not we do the same thing in Europe?

On the 4th of December 2017, Zoéelife and forty-two associations working in pediatric cancer in twenty European countries sent an 20171204_Open Letter_EN to the European Commissioner for Health, Vytenis Andriukaitis, to alert him to the urgency to act, concretely and together, for children with cancer. This shows that the mobilization of associations at European level is strengthening to move the lines.

We can not let European bureaucratic slowness delay research to the detriment of children.

It is important to work together to ensure that pediatric oncology research accelerates, so that children with cancer are better cared for, with better treatments, and so that all of them can be cured.

Zoé4life is very active in this domain and will continue to work on a national and international level so that children, our children, those of today and those of tomorrow will no longer be forgotten by research.

And it is thanks to your support that we will get there, all together!

Thank you!

The Zoé4life Committee

Zoé4life donates 150,000 francs to childhood cancer research

In less than three years, Zoé4life has funded over 430,000.- francs of research into childhood cancer in Switzerland. This is an amazing accomplishment for a non-profit organization run entirely by volunteers.

It was with great honour that the members of Zoé4life’s executive committee anounced their continued support of the Swiss Paediatric Oncology Group.

The Swiss Paediatric Oncology Group (SPOG) is an association whose objective it is to advance clinical, i.e. directly patient-focused paediatric cancer research. Its members are hospital departments in Switzerland that treat children and adolescents with cancer.

SPOG works nation-wide in Switzerland and maintains intense cooperation with leading international research groups.

Zoé4life supports the Swiss Paediatric Oncology Group within their specific research to better treat cancer in children suffering from a relapse. Through this financial support, new research projects are being launched more rapidly.

The cheque awarded by Zoe4life to this specific project represents a year’s worth of work to raise funds.

In Switzerland, a child dies every week from cancer. Zoé4life is committed to accelerating research in order to cure more children and ensure survivors have a better quality of life.




Zoé4life hosted an awareness and fundraising event in the beautiful lake-side town of Rolle on October 1st 2016! This team-building and family-friendly event marked the closing of September, International Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, during which many awareness activities took place, including the illumination in gold of Geneva’s Jet d’eau for the 4th year in a row. Gold is the symbolic colour representing solidarity for children with cancer – the number onecause of death by disease in children.


Day4life was a day of solidarity, which encouraged the people of Suisse Romande to show their support for this cause, while also enjoying a fun day of various activities by the lake. It was also be an excellent opportunity to take part in our team-building event for groups and organizations wishing to strengthen their interpersonal bonds while engaging in a challenging afternoon, all in the name of a great cause. As Zoé4life’s motto states: Together, we can make a difference!



Our celebrity ambassador:1529294_pic_970x641

Jean-Marc Richard, well know television and radio show host, gave us the honour of being our ambassador for the event. Jean-Marc Richard is already quite active as Switzerland’s ambassador for the Rights of the Child since 2006. He chose to support Zoé4life and this event for the following reasons:


“I am deeply moved by the fact that Zoé4life was able to turn a tragedy into an active, extremely well-known organization that benefits so many.”


The event had two main parts:

“Zoé’s Village”

Zoé loved to laugh, but even more than that, she loved to have fun, see people, play, and live every moment of her life to the fullest. Zoé’s Village, which was set up in the courtyard in front of the historic Rolle Castle,  represented that joy for life, a place where people came to meet-up, share a meal or a drink, spend time together, or take part in one of the many activities for all ages.

Some of the many events and activities:

  • Evening concert by the popular local group « Les Pseudos »
  • Capoeira initiation and demonstration
  • Zumba for kids & Zumba for adults
  • Cupcake workshop for kids (The Melazic Kingdom)
  • Information booths about Zoé4life and other partners
  • Food and beverage booths



“Zoé’s Challenge”

A team-building event like no other – fun, challenging, lightly competitive but accessible to anyone – this was the event to sign up for to show that together, we can make a difference.


Based on the principles of an orienteering race, this event saw two dozen teams of four to eight people each competing, using maps and clues, to find their way to special posts throughout Rolle as they raced to complete the challenge. They encountered various obstacles, tests and trials and ultimately made their way back to Zoé’s Village for one last challenge.




Zoé4life donates 150’000 CHF to childhood cancer research

It was with great honour that the members of Zoé4life’s executive committee anounced a new partnership with the Swiss Paediatric Oncology Group.

The Swiss Paediatric Oncology Group (SPOG) is an association whose objective it is to advance clinical, i.e. directly patient-focused paediatric cancer research. Its members are hospital departments in Switzerland that treat children and adolescents with cancer.

SPOG works nation-wide in Switzerland and maintains intense cooperation with leading international research groups.

Zoé4life supports the Swiss Paediatric Oncology Group within their specific research to better treat cancer in children suffering from a relapse. Through this financial support, new research projects can be launched more rapidly.

The cheque awarded by Zoe4life to this specific project represents a year’s worth of work to raise funds.

In Switzerland, a child dies every week from cancer. Zoe4life is committed to accelerating research in order to cure more children and ensure survivors have a better quality of life.


World’s Children Raise their Voices for Childhood Cancer in New Single

Every day 700 children are diagnosed with cancer. It’s time to raise our voices.

Some of the most famous singing kids on YouTube are forming a supergroup to raise awareness about childhood cancer. And the best part? The children of the world are invited to join in!

At child4child.com kids can sing and record the chorus of the song, which will then be released on Feb. 15th, 2016—International Childhood Cancer Day. The song “We Are One” has been created by Christophe Beck, the composer for Disney’s smash hit Frozen.

Childhood Cancer International (CCI) is an umbrella organization currently representing 180 parent-led childhood cancer organizations in 90 countries. Today CCI has launched child4Child.com, the first global initiative where their member organizations join forces to raise awareness of childhood cancer. Of the 250,000 children that are diagnosed with cancer each year, about 90,000 of them will lose their lives to the disease, making cancer the number one non-communicable disease-related cause of death of children worldwide. The organization has now teamed up with some of the most talented singing kids on YouTube, many of them famous for their appearances on talent shows such as America’s Got Talent, The Voice Kids Australia and Britain’s Got Talent. Their performances have together reached over 300 million views on YouTube.

The new song “We Are One” is written by internationally acclaimed composer Christophe Beck, most known for creating the score to Disney’s smash hit Frozen.

“I’ve composed the scores to over a hundred films, including Hollywood blockbusters such as The Hangover, Ant-Man, and The Peanuts Movie. But this has by far been one of my most challenging assignments. Luckily I had my daughter Sophie by my side, a talented and precocious musician and songwriter herself, along with lyricist David Goldsmith, who wrote some beautiful words to inspire us. The three of us have been working on the song together and I am extraordinarily pleased with the results,” says Christophe Beck.

Children are invited to sing and record the chorus of the song on the child4child.com website starting January 11th. One month later on February 15th, the International Childhood Cancer Day, the song will be released on music streaming platforms such as Spotify and iTunes. The chorus of the song will contain all voices recorded on the website.

“With the song ”We Are One” we wish to honor all children of the world, particularly those in their courageous battle against cancer,” says Carmen Auste, the current Chair of CCI and the mother of a childhood cancer survivor.

Child Ambassadors for the campaign are Alexa Curtis (winner of The Voice Kids Australia 2014, Livvy Stubenrauch (the voice of Anna in Disney’s Frozen), Robbie Firmin (Britain’s Got Talent) and Aaralyn O’Neil (America’s Got Talent).


Children from around the world can visit the website from January 11th until early February. Then on February 15th, International Childhood Cancer Day, the chorus version of all of the children who had recorded themselves singing will be launched on global music platforms.

A music video will also be released on YouTube with clips of the children who have helped record the chorus.
Join the chorus of children around the world in solidarity with those battling cancer.

We are one.

We are strong.

And we will sing this song together

So sing along

And as one

We will rise

We won’t give up the fight until the night

Yields to the sun

We are one.


One year ago our princess breathed her last breath …
I thought I should not remember this day, I thought it would not matter whether it’s a day, a month, a year! But in the last couple of weeks for some reasons memories have come back stronger, making the days hard to start, everything look pointless, meaningless …
A child has no guilt, just smiles and wishes to live, full of optimism. Why should they suffer? Life has a beginning and an end, this we know and should accept, but why so much sufferance ?!!!
Most of you have followed us throughout her illness, when in my mails I tried to show her best moments, to be positive. You may be surprised to read me this way.
She was amazing, a fighter, so small and so wise, smiling as soon as she would feel a bit better, filling her every second she could with playing, learning, and giving us/me incredible strength.
Now at times I wonder what point is there in living a life … I am lucky I have the smile of our second child, he does not ask himself questions …
I have been asking myself: what would have happened if Lukas and I had not gone to the doctor after only 3 days of small fever. Even the doctor was initially fooled. If we had just waited another couple of days ….
When, at the very beginning, I challenged doctors asking if it made sense to cure her, given the seriousness of the illness, I was told that legally I had no right of decisions. They assumed an 80% chance of survival, like most types of leukemia, and I had to agree …
We tried, and we tried hard, from the 11th January 2012 to the 23rd September 2014.
We know that children have higher chances of survival because they can stand higher doses of chemotherapy … I let you read this testimonial of a child cancer surviver (http://zoe4life.org/2015/09/09/mauranne/ ) to just have a hint of the later side effects.
There should not be higher doses, but better medicaments, taking into account the farmaco-kinetics of a child body. They should endure less pain during the treatment, and be closer to a normal life during the treatment and afterwards.
Medics should have the means to better know when to cure, and when to let go….
So, in memory of Leila, I ask for your help. Help in children cancer.
Make it known, make this a subject that is not taboo simply because it’s too hard or difficult, contribute however you feel like it: support research.
Or otherwise,  play with the ill children or their siblings, help hospital to give bigger rooms, help the families by cooking for them (for us it was vital and a great sign of affection!) … There are infinite ways.
I personally have one goal, which is to see what could be improved for the final days of life, but I have not found the strength yet.
Foscolo claimed that we survive death through memory. Thank you for remembering Leila.
Adriana, Leila’s mom.


Fynn was 2 1/2 when he was diagnosed with cancer.
The next 434 days immersed us in a completely alien world. We hope this video gives you an idea of this world.
 Thanks to the dedication and skill of the many health professionals Fynn has recovered and leads a normal life.
They say there is always somebody worse off than you. We’ve met many, and we realise how lucky we are.
-Michael, Fynn’s dad
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