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Get active for CSF

Cancer Support France is calling on people to join them in their nationwide Activity for Life Day on September 18 to help raise funds and awareness of the work they do.

The two main events are a six-day bike ride along the Canal de Garonne from Bordeaux to Toulouse and the Walk for Life in the Languedoc which is in its sixth year. There are 13 different associations affiliated to Cancer Support France and each one is planning a different activity, some sporty and some not.

Penny Parkinson, the charity’s national president, says their aim is to make sure that every English-speaker in France is aware of CSF and its services.

“We support cancer patients themselves, but also their carers, families and those closest to them. Over the past 13 years, CSF has made a real difference to the lives of nearly 2,000 of those people,” she said. “Today, our network of affiliated but independent associations supports clients with linguistic, practical help, information and emotional support. We do this work using highly trained volunteers, Active Listeners, who work with the ‘client’ to ensure they get the help they need.

“To support this work, CSF needs funds and it is vital to spread awareness about what care is available. The Canal de Garonne bike ride is a chance for all ages to enjoy the fabulous countryside with great company and to raise money for this much needed charity. Why not join us?”

One of the organisers is Jayne Ray: “It was a wonderful experience – 26 people did the whole ride but 60 took part in all, some doing just one or two stages. We also had lots of volunteers who helped carry equipment in their cars or were there to help change punctures for example.

“A lot of local people along the route contributed as well. One French restaurant opened up especially for us and gave us a wonderful meal at a knockdown price of €5 each. We had people with cancer taking part, their families and volunteers.

“It was not just about fundraising – it was also about communities coming together and raising awareness of our association. One of our riders had terminal cancer and it created positive memories for him and his family and was a great inspiration for other people.”

This year’s ride starts in Bordeaux and will take cyclists on a 300km route along the Canal de Garonne in six days, with between 27 and 66km of cycling a day. You can be sponsored if you wish but it is not obligatory and you can take part in as many stages as you choose.

The association is also looking for volunteers to help with transport and other support along route. There will be a list of campsites, hotels and chambre d’hôtes along the way where riders can stay overnight, at their own cost. People are encouraged to join CSF if they take part and new members are always welcome. 

The Walk for Life is organised by the Languedoc association and will be held at the Domaine de la Clapière in Montagnac in the Hérault department on September 18 and there is a choice between a 5km and a 10km sponsored walk. At the end there is the possibility of lunch from a fish and chip van whose owners usually donate a percentage of the takings to the association.

Charente-Plus is organising a Race for Life around the lake at Angoulême in the morning and an evening choral event with wine and cheese at the chateau in Champagne Mouton. CSF Dordogne & Lot are planning a canoe and cycle activity centred around the Lot river and CSF Sud de France are hoping to do a sponsored Zumba and a walk and picnic.

CSF Provence Gard will run a sponsored canoe trip down the river Gardon from Collias to the Pont du Gard and a sponsored walk around the Pont du Gard.

Not all events require physical activity. In the Basse Normandie, for example, there will be an afternoon cream tea with a colourathon and a knitathon. CSF Dordogne Sud will hold a garden party with a suckling pig roast and barbecue.

You can find details of your local affiliated association and their activities on and for the bike ride you can contact Jayne Ray on  

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