The sports and health centre opens up to children with cancer

© 2015 EPFL

© 2015 EPFL

The UNIL-EPFL Centre sport et santé (CSS), the CHUV and the Zoé4life association are teaming up. They launched a programme for the benefit of children with cancer.

When hospitalised at the CHUV, sick children have the opportunity to follow sports training on site. But once they return home, they often do not pursue any sporting activity or participate in physical education classes like other children. Yet the benefits of physical exercise appear to have been proven for both physical (coordination, endurance, balance) and neuropsychological (concentration, managing emotions) abilities. This is all the more important for these children who risk long-term after-effects related to their disease or to the heavy treatments administered.

This is why the UNIL-EPFL sports and health centre (CSS) and the CHUV Pediatric Hematology-Oncology Unit decided to set up a programme for children from 6 to 16 years with cancer. Called PASTEC (promotion of therapeutic sports activity for children with cancer), the project includes an evaluation by various CHUV professionals of the effects such a programme may have on improving the physical abilities and quality of life of children treated for cancer. Eventually, if the results of this research prove positive, the goal would be to develop support for sports and other teachers in schools in order to ease the return of these children to a school physical activity programme as normal as possible.

As of September, the CSS will welcome children every Saturday morning to offer them dedicated physical training in small groups under the supervision of professionals in adapted physical activity. At the same time the CHUV will evaluate various parameters of their physical and psychological condition.

To encourage them, the children will be supported by sports personalities, including footballer Xavier Margairaz who will be the official sponsor of the PASTEC programme.

The mission of the Zoé4life association is to help families whose child has cancer, to improve the lives of children undergoing treatment, to raise public authority awareness to this cause and to support research in this field. The cheque presented by the association on 11 February will allow the launch of the PASTEC project.

Author: Cynthia Khattar - Unicom / Mediacom

Source: EPFL