• Cirieco Design
  • Alzheimer's Association
  • World Radio Switzerland


Léman hope is a project of the Chiki Foundation that helps young people rebuilding their lives after cancer through sailing.

In Switzerland, every year, 350 children and young people are diagnosed with cancer. Once treatment ends, going back to “normal" life isn’t possible. The long term affects of cancer on physical, emotional, social, and mental wellbeing is huge. The feeling of being different and alone is too often a reality.

Léman hope wants to encourage and inspire those young people to help them rebuild self-confidence, through a 5-day and 4-night sailing trip on Lake Geneva. It is a life adventure where young people connect with others who have also experienced cancer, participate in life onboard and realise what they are capable of (socially and physically), learn new things, support each other and get away from home for a few days in a safe and caring atmosphere accompanied by an experience skipper and a monitor.

Priscille Varillon de Macías, Directrice de projet Léman hope, explains, "We started in 2020 with 2 boats and 8 young people from the French part of Switzerland; in 2021 we welcomed 24 young people; we then doubled the places in 2022 and organised, for the first time, some German-speaking boat crews for Swiss German youngsters. In 2023, we will have 64 young people coming from the French, German, and maybe even the Italian part of Switzerland!"


What has been the inspiration?
Léman hope is directly inspired by the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust which have been taking young people on sailing trips for the past 20 years showing incredible benefits.

What is the biggest obstacle you have had to overcome?
Now the project is in place, we want to support every young person aged 8-21 in Switzerland who has been affected by cancer. We can reach some children through hospitals and associations/charities but many of them are not in touch with either anymore and do not know the existence of such support. Some young people tell us that sometimes when you’re young, you want to move straight on, but the more the years go by, the more difficult it becomes as you start to remember things and want to find out more. These young people are the most difficult to reach though the more in need for such support.

What are your plans for the future?
We want to support every young person in Switzerland after cancer. By 2030 we aim to have the financial and organisational capacity to welcome 300 young people every year.

By 2024, we would like to support cancer survivors’ siblings too as they suffer quietly and are greatly impacted. Dedicated sailing trips will be in place for them.

What is your favorite part of your job and why?
Waking up in the morning, thinking everything you do will help improving young people’s life is a truly inspirational motive. But when families tell you how much their child have gained through the Léman Hope sailing trips, and how the whole family benefits from this positive and inspiring experience, there’s no better reward.


Quotes from young people
"It feels good to talk openly without shocking anyone." Marco, 16 years old
"The sailing trip helped me to understand that I have the right to have fun, to trust myself." Brodie, 17 years old
"The sailing trip taught me to overcome my fear." Sohail, 13 years old

Quotes from parents
"Théotime, since this wonderful sailing trip, has become happier, more alert, more confident, more positive, more willing and ready to connect with others, more radiant in a word.” Mother of Théotime, 17 years old
"I was anxious to let her go. Tonight I see for the first time the smile on her face that I had never seen since her cancer." Mother of Nikita, 12 years old

Quotes from hospitals
"A big thank you for the transmission of all these magnificent testimonies which are heart-warming and certainly motivate to continue the support to Léman hope. I would like to thank you and the whole team for this wonderful commitment to the children, who will be grateful to you for the rest of their lives." Prof. Maja Beck Popovic Chief Physician, Pediatric Hemato-Oncology, CHUV

"It's amazing to see these children full of life. I only knew them in hospital, in bed and undergoing chemotherapy, some with complications. Now they have regained their strength and are at the heart of their own lives. They can express themselves independently and are very enthusiastic. They come back from this trip with a very positive feeling." Dr. Jochen Rössler, Head of the Department of Paediatric Oncology and Haematology at the University Hospital of Bern

Quotes from partners
"It’s so wonderful to have this feedback, working with organisations such as yourselves and the Trust are one of the best parts of the Musto brand and I am glad we can support you in the incredible impact you are clearly having." Emma Jackson, Brand Marketing Manager, MUSTO

Priscille Varillon

Priscille Varillon de Macías, Directrice de projet, Léman hope

Upcoming dates:

  • 29 April 2023: “Fun Run for Léman hope” fundraiser organized by ISL (International School of Lausanne).

  • 3-7 and 15-19 July 2023: Léman hope sailing trips will take place.

  • 30 August through 2 September 2023: Fundraising event Swim4hope Léman (a purpose orientated team building event for all companies, relay swimming across the lake). This 2 minute video explains the concept. The ambition is 50 companies, 500 swimmers, CHF 500’000 raised for young people in recovery from cancer.

  • Early September 2023: First edition of Swim4hope in Zurich.



Léman hope