Employee volunteering event for a serious cause

A regular sporting event that many EIB Group employees look forward to each year has quite a serious background: ‘Relais pour la vie’, as it is called, is a charitable event designed to increase awareness about cancer, show solidarity with people affected by cancer and raise money, mostly used for cancer research. “Every one of us knows someone who has had cancer”, says Elodie Donjon, one of the two EIF employees who organise the annual event on behalf of the EIF. “We ourselves have sadly lost two colleagues in their mid-thirties recently. The ‘Relais’ gives us an opportunity to stop for a moment, remember the people we have lost and do our bit to help.”

On the day of the event, however, ‘Relais pour la vie’ is all about sports and fun. It is a 24-hour non-stop running (and walking) event where teams from the EIB and EIF compete together with around 400 other groups, associations and organisations from Luxembourg, with more than 10,000 people running laps through the local ‘Coque’ stadium. In May 2017, the EIF team won the ‘Trophée de l’Espoir’, a special award in the category ‘Enterprise and institutions’ for raising the most funds.

‘Relais pour la vie’ is the Luxembourg local happening in a global series. “When you’re at it, you can feel the global spirit”, says EIF co-organiser Virginie Wagnon. “As the event gets closer, everybody is so keen for it to start. Then, when the day comes and you are there for 24 hours, you really get a sense of community, a feeling of having something in common, it is tremendous!” Aicha Benabed and Silvia Marzilli organise the event on the EIB’s side. Aicha confirms, “We couldn’t do without all our colleagues. It’s always a great event with so much fun.”

Colleagues who don’t take an active part in the running contest can support their team efforts by participating in the various events organised in the three months before the Relais (a charity breakfast, a bowling contest, a lottery) or by being ‘Angels’, donating 10 cents per lap run by others. In 2017, the teams from the EIB and EIF together raised more than EUR 25,000, including matching amounts from the two organisations. The money is donated to the Fondation Cancer in Luxembourg, which uses it to support its mission of research, information and help to patients and their families.