International tennis star Justine Hénin has always had a heart for kids, in fact, and is active in the field of child care already since more than a decade. Justine started off with an organisation “les 20 coeurs de Justine”, or freely translated “the 20 hearts of Justine”, and helped children with cancer.
In 2008, her organisation “Justine for Kids” extended its activities and took over. Since then, this organisation cooperates closely with paediatric centres to cater for the needs of sick children.
But there is more: Justine is also very fond of the Fiat 500. She has an original “Nuova 500” built in 1971, and she drives every day with abandon the present 500…
It was therefore in the cards that a rallye for Fiat 500 owners with a heart for children would follow, to support projects and activities of her organisation. We assisted the press conference at the Club Justine Henin in Limelette...
Hans Knol ten Bensel
Justine Hénin and her organisation Justine for Kids got an enthusiastic response for this project from the PR people of Fiat Group Automobiles Belgium, (Justine poses here with Wim Willems on the left and Dominique Fontignies) and last but not least from Patricia Decraemer, Site Manager at Motor Village Drogenbos, where Justine has her “Cinquecento” in expert service. (See photo here below)
The idea ripened soon to organize for a rallye with a tourist character for all Fiat 500 owners, to fund a project for sick children, to bring to them the TurkishSea, Water and Sun.
Indeed, the children will be treated to a sailing cruise on a typical Turkish sailing yacht in an authentic, natural environment, where they will discover not only the dolphins but also the life on board such a nice sailing vessel.
The press conference was held hat the stylish Club Justine Henin in Limelette...
The estimated cost of this project is a good 25.000 Euros, and a FUN rallye with the “Cinquecento” would certainly give a nice boost to cover the expenses.
Justine and her 30-odd benevolent friends who organise this event on October 4th, want it to be nothing but FUN for the participants.
It is made for 500 owners and their families and kids, and therefore will only last half a day, from 9 to 13h30,. The participants and their families will start off in Brussels at the parking Delta, and will receive a tasty “Café Croissant” breakfast.
In the Club one finds the numerous prizes on display, like the US Open she won in 2008...
The bucolic parcours runs through the Walloon part of the Brabant province, well described in a proper roadbook. The organisers have laid out two different circuits, as they expect quite a big number of participants.
The arrival is at the Limelette Tennis Club of Justine Hénin, between 12 and 13 h, where the prize winners will then be announced.
You want to participate at the first edition of this Fun Rallye Fiat 500? Well, just go to the website dedicated to this event, www.funrallye.com, and contribute 50 Euros, which will provide you with a morning of very pleasant motoring, for a good cause!
A large mural photo of Justine and her daughter is displayed in the Club Justine Henin...
It is the first time we visited the Club Justine Henin in Limelette. It is beautifully designed with all the amenities of a professional tennis club, with restaurant, bar and conference areas to match. Of course one can admire the numerous trophies Justine has gathered during her long and illustrious career. Here the press conference and the presentation of the project took place, followed by a fine lunch.
Enthusiasm and a warm heart for kids...
Here we had the pleasure to meet and have a word with enthusiastic women who put their shoulders under the project.
Besides Mme Patricia Decraemer, we also had an interesting conversation with Joëlle Leemans, (see photo here above) Vice President and manager of the organisation “Justine for Kids.” She explained to us that the organisation is nationwide, and that “Justine for Kids” cooperates not only with renowned Hospital Princess Elisabeth, but also with St. Luc, the children’s hospital in Brussels. The organisation is now establishing contacts with Leuven and Antwerp.
Justine invests herself completely in the organisation and its work. When going on a trip with sick children to Lapland, she went without her daughter and husband, and shared her room with two sick children.
The organisation works exclusively with pediatric centres, caring for sick or handicapped children, and has no direct contacts with parents or families. Also for this project, seeing the dolphins in the Turkish waters, the organisation contacted two oncology centres who treat and take care of the children, and know their (medical) needs best.
“Justine for Kids” is a private organisation, which is not government or state subsidized. This allows “Justine for Kids” to select the activities and projects which corresponds ideally with their values. The organisation plans to set up a resting home in Namur where four to five families can sleep, eat and enjoy the activities, just offering them a few days of rest and leasure, where also the parents can have a break from their responsibilities.
Needless to say that the medical aspects are taken care of, with a team of medical staff and docters, and the medical centre in Namur. The house will contain four to five apartments around a central swimming pool, restaurant, etc. The stay will be offered free to the families. The house will be opened in 2018…and is totally funded by “Justine for Kids”.
Hans Knol ten Bensel