The official launch of the ’Put on your sneakers and beat the disease’ campaign took place in Reunion on Tuesday 26 September with the ELA Dictation. The Bellepierre School of Applied Sciences in Saint-Denis, a loyal supporter of ELA for many years, hosted this flagship event for the Association.

A musical welcome

Before the dictation, the pupils gathered in the courtyard put up an emotional performance of the song “For the children of ELA” in front of all the personalities gathered for the occasion: Guy Alba, President of ELA International, Lucas Alba, Director of ELA France, Annick Amadeuf, IA IPR of EPS representing the Rector of the Academy, Jean-Luc Corti, Secretary General of ELA International, Johny Guichard, humorist, Jean-Noël Chaffre, IEN, Anne Le Louarn, Departmental Pedagogical Adviser in EPS, Maël, who suffers from Ravine syndrome, accompanied by his mother Nathalie.

Endless stories

It was in front of about thirty CM1 students that Johny Guichard took part in the game and put himself in the shoes of a teacher to read the text of the dictation ’Endless stories’, written this year by Leila Slimani, Prix Goncourt 2016. Particularly moved, Johny Guichard reminded the children of the need to go and meet children or adults with disabilities, to engage in dialogue with those who are often wrongly perceived as different people.

This dictation was followed by a dialoguewith the children who were particularly affected by the testimonies of Lucas and Maël, both of whom are affectedby the disease. Lucas expressed his difficulty, as a child, to confide in them and to talk about his situation. But time and a better understanding of the disease helped him to talk about it and to get involved in the Association. As for Maël, 17 years old and attending a vocational high school in Saint-Joseph, he explained his difficulty in managing the disease on a daily basis, and also insisted on the importance of not being alone, of being surrounded by his family and his classmates.

The event ended with a traditional family photo, before the whole school devoted itself to various sports activities. A symbolic way of lending one’s legs to children with leukodystrophy who can no longer use them.