Between December 10 and 13, 46 children left their hospital beds for three magical days in Lapland. The Louis Carlesimo charity was named after its founder’s brother who died of cancer in 1981, 40 years ago.

One of many events organised each year by the charity’s devoted volunteers, this was the eighth annual trip to North Finland which was fortunately able to go ahead in 2021, in spite of the complication Covid restrictions.

‘It would be unthinkable to take this gift away from these sick children,’ said the charity’s president Honoré Carlesimo, who moved heaven and Earth to make this trip happen. The energy and drive of this 77-year-old man is incredible. As well as taking on the organisation of the trip, he also dressed up as Father Christmas for the outward flight, before passing on the task to the ‘real’ Saint Nicholas in Finland. Here, the children were welcomed into his cosy house, tucked away in a snowy Finnish forest.

The children came from hospitals in the Île de France (Institut Gustave Roussy, Kremlin-Bicêtre), as well as hospitals in Martinique, Guadaloupe and Guyana. The biggest shock was the temperature – a drop of 40 degrees for the children who came from the ‘outre mer’ territories!

Aged between 6 and 13, the children were suffering from cancer, leukaemia, or had undergone organ transplants. This trip let them escape their day-to-day medical environment to a magical place for a few days.

Meeting Father Christmas, receiving presents, delivering letters, playing traditional Lapland games, crossing frozen lakes, carriage and husky-sled rides…the children returned with stars in their eyes, and with some extra emotional strength to help them bear the burden of their illnesses.

Maëva Coucke, Miss France 2018 and a devoted supporter of the charity joined the trip with two doctors and several nurses.

LOV Group is delighted to have contributed to this trip, and is always keen to support this charity in helping sick children make their dreams come true.


L’association Louis Carlesimo