They step on the pedals to help sick children

Every year since 2018, Haut-Marnais Jonathan Witczak and a few friends have posed themselves a sporting challenge to help children with cancer. In early June, they climbed Mont Ventoux by bike, via the three tarred passes. In their solidarity kit, they have already raised more than 6,000 euros.

It’s an engine that’s been driving them to the top for some time now. On June 7, Jonathan Witczak, former CO Saint-Dizier football player in CFA 2, and eight other brave people, work colleagues and friends set off on the ascent of Mont Ventoux. An XXL sports challenge, but also and above all a human and solidarity adventure, set up for the benefit of sick children.

Since February 2021, he and his friends, “Team Xanthus”, have created an association: “Summits for Smiles”. “Every time, the idea is to raise money for associations that work to improve the daily lives of sick children and their families,” he explained even then, shortly before climbing the Franco-Italian Alps. “This time we took on a new sporting challenge: to climb Mont-Ventoux on the three tarred sides,” he says.

It was therefore not one but three climbs that awaited the group. In one day, the small platoon undertook to climb the pass at Bédoin, then at Malaucène and at Sault. That is a total of 137 km for 4,400 m ascent.

A balloon release at Chalet Reynard

Since February 2021, he and his friends, “Team Xanthus”, have created an association: “Summits for Smiles”. “Every time, the idea is to raise money for associations that work to improve the daily lives of sick children and their families,” he explained even then, shortly before climbing the Franco-Italian Alps. “This time we took on a new sporting challenge: to climb Mont-Ventoux on the three tarred sides,” he says.

Since February 2021, he and his friends, “Team Xanthus”, have created an association: “Summits for Smiles”. “Every time, the idea is to raise money for associations that work to improve the daily lives of sick children and their families,” he explained even then, shortly before climbing the Franco-Italian Alps. “This time we took on a new sporting challenge: to climb Mont-Ventoux on the three tarred sides,” he says.

Jonathan Witczak is the reason for the challenges and the creation of the association “Des Sommets pour des Smiles”.

“It was hard and you had to be strong mentally. Like the little heroes we do this for! When your body tells you that it is in pain, you focus on the goal again. Because we all know why we do this. We have no right to give up, ”he says. So then at 18:00, after twelve hours of effort and sweat on the bike, the group completed its “Cinglés du Ventoux” challenge, the official name given to the adventure, enjoyed all this moment, made possible thanks to a sacred union at all times.

“In the morning, in the cool, we started walking up through Bédoin. In the Reynard cabin, we took a break to release balloons, as a tribute to the children who have left us, ”says Jonathan Witczak, proud to have given his time to this cause of solidarity.

He has every reason to smile. The cat, which was posted online for this XXL challenge, has already raised more than 7,800 euros per cat. July 13th. As it will only be closed at the end of September, at the end of the month with information on pediatric cancers, everything makes us believe that the generosity of the donors will make it possible to donate an even larger amount.

Belles Filles Super Board in 2023

The association has chosen to donate half of its kitten to the Gustave Roussy Institute, one of the largest European centers for research in pediatric cancers. She also planned to bring him the check … by bike! “The other half will be used to make the dreams of the children we follow come true.”

To date, they are three. The first Xanthus, which was the starting point for the first challenges, in 2018, and which celebrated its 7th birthday on 20 June. The boy is the son of a former neighbor of Jonathan Witczak and a friend of his son. Since this year, the association has supported two new little heroes, 7-year-old Victoire, who also suffers from a malignant tumor, and 8-and-a-half-year-old Gabin, who is battling leukemia. The three children are being followed at the American hospital in Reims.

Because the battle does not stop there, the team is already planning a new challenge in 2023: the ascent of the Super Planche des Belles Filles, in the Vosges, which the riders of the Tour de France met again on 8 July. The association has planned to contact Thibaut Pinot, a professional from the Groupama-FDJ team and from the area. And to make him his godfather. Because their little heroes are worth it.

Delphine Catalifaud

d.catalifaud@jhm.fr

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