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Our P’tites Etoiles offer “a saving letting go” by introducing sick children to paragliding


“It feels really good. This reaction turned in a loop, on September 11, in the paragliding landing zone of Doussard (Haute-Savoie), on the shores of Lake Annecy. For the third time since 2018, the association Nos P’tites Étoiles, voluntarily supported by professional paragliders around the triple French acrobatic champion and winner of the 2015 World Cup Eliot Nchent, brought together 11 families of sick or disabled children. to offer them an “air bubble” day.

On the menu: air shows, but also paragliding and microlight baptisms from the Col de la Forclaz for each of these families. Member of the French acrobatic paragliding team, with which he was crowned world champion last July in Udine (Italy), the godfather of Nos P’tites Etoiles Eliot Nchent (27 years) launched this project there is three years.

Children “like crazy to make cuckoos in the air”

The one who made his first solo flight at the age of 10 was marked, four years later, by an encounter with a disabled child intrigued by his immense canvas. “I had just put his buttocks in the harness and I kept in mind his happiness to feel flying in front of Mont-Blanc,” he confides. I also saw how much it felt good for mom to see her kid so happy letting go for ten minutes. I wanted to find this magic one day. “

Only two months after having contacted Nos P’tites Etoiles, he organized flights for a dozen families in Salève (Haute-Savoie). “The children were immediately like crazy to say hello in the air or to see us making back flips right above them, Eliot Nsez smirked. And then it’s as if the handicap no longer exists in paragliding. Parents are often more afraid than children when it comes to take off. “

Eliot Nchent has been accompanying many children since the beginning of the Our Flying Stars project, like here Mouniré, who discovered paragliding this month with him. – Paul Viard-Gaudin

“We wanted to bring” air bubbles “to families”

The Annecy association, which now has eight permanent members, ten referent members including a doctor, 350 members and many volunteers, provides a budget of 17,000 euros to offer this dream day to children. It works in partnership with paediatrics in Haute-Savoie but also the Institute of Pediatric Hematology and Oncology (IHOPe) in Lyon. “It’s a very fragile audience so we have no room for error,” explains Arnold Bruguière, president of the association. Hospitals select families who can participate in these activities. “

Arnold Bruguière created the association Nos P'tites Etoiles in 2015 with his wife Nathalie.
Arnold Bruguière created the association Nos P’tites Etoiles in 2015 with his wife Nathalie. – Scalpfoto

With his wife Nathalie, Arnold Bruguière created Nos P’tites Etoiles in 2015, after the death of their son Yanis (10 years old) the previous year from Ewing’s sarcoma (bone cancer). “If we remove the associations, there is no more distraction for sick children than Gulli on television,” continues the father of 50 years. We wanted to both create synergies between all these associations intended for children in difficulty, raise public awareness of the importance of bone marrow donation, and bring “air bubbles” to families. “

“These little bits of life bite into life”

It is on this aspect that Eliot Nogez falls at the right time to allow the Nos Etoiles Volantes events. “Everyone picks up so much in these families where the child monopolizes all the attention that we want to allow them to make memories, moments of respite during which they are all cocooned, summarizes Arnold Bruguière. Such a benevolent day is saving, it nourishes the soul and it allows you to forget that the next day, there is chemo. “

The scenery of Lake Annecy once again amazes the 11 families invited to discover paragliding with Nos P'tites Etoiles.
The scenery of Lake Annecy once again amazes the 11 families invited to discover paragliding with Nos P’tites Etoiles. – Scalpfoto

Fully taken care of from 9 am to 6 pm by “a guardian angel”, namely a member of the association who directs them towards all activities outdoor on offer, from equitherapy to ULM, including slacklining and aerial demonstrations, families empty their heads around Lake Annecy. Marie Webel, who participated in Nos Etoiles Volantes in 2019 alongside her daughter Elouane (8 years old), tells us more.

These little ones are used to fighting all the time so they have a great time in life when there is a moment of respite. It’s as if they enjoy life’s little pleasures ten times more than healthy children. “

“Elouane has always hung on to this day of paragliding”

Elouane, who was diagnosed with “primary immunodeficiency” at 5 months, lived for many years “with a sword of Damocles over her head”, being unable to go to public places until the age of 4. Eliot Nogez made his dream come true in July 2020 by offering him a private (and filmed) paragliding flight alongside his big sister Lilou. Three months later, Elouane received a bone marrow transplant. “At the hospital, she watched the film of her unforgettable flight every day,” says her mother. She kept telling me that once she was healed, she could fly with Eliot again. At the time of the transplant, the doctors told me again that it was essential that the child never give up. Elouane has always hung on to this day of paragliding. “

Almost a year later, Elouane reacted well to the transplant and his family wanted to be part of the volunteers mobilized for the 2021 edition of Nos Etoiles Volantes. In three editions, Eliot Nogez and Arnold Bruguière savor several beautiful touching stories of this kind. At 14, Flavy, who suffers from myopathy, for example asked the paraglider champion if he could help him pass his pilot’s license. “In one week, she managed her two solo flights like a princess and she graduated,” smiles Eliot Nogez. Similarly, Lenny (16), despite a rare neurodegenerative pathology that made him blind and diabetic, was able to spend a day skiing and snowmobiling thanks to Nos P’tites Etoiles, the winter spent in Valmorel.

Marceau (8 years old) feasted for his first time in the air with a paraglider champion who volunteered to participate in Nos Etoiles Volantes.
Marceau (8 years old) feasted for his first time in the air with a paraglider champion who volunteered to participate in Nos Etoiles Volantes. – Paul Viard-Gaudin

Kitesurfing soon on the program?

On September 11, Eliott (13), suffering from Ewing’s sarcoma, had the privilege of flying in a microlight alongside wild geese. Arnold Bruguière, who is also delighted with the investment in the Annecy project of other very high level athletes such as the Soul Flyer Fred Fugen, the paraglider Valentin Delluc, the mountaineer Paul Bonhomme or the snowboarder Victor de Le Rue, summarizes as follows: the problem of these families in difficulty.

When you have a sick child, you tell yourself that they are different and that they cannot try all of these activities. But anyone can fly. The brakes are all in the head and nothing stops us in the association. Whatever the child’s pathology, it’s up to us to adapt. “

Eliot Nogez is also considering an evolution for the next editions of Nos Etoiles Volantes: “If there is too much wind to paraglide in good conditions, we could consider introducing children to kite surfing”. There is definitely no restraint in the dreams of Nos P’tites Etoiles.




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