Our story

KickCancer is the story of a Belgian happily blended family living with humour, love and small daily joys until the frightening day when they are told one of their children, Raphaël, then almost nine, has cancer. A tumour located in the foot called rhabdomyosarcoma – an indigestible name quickly changed into “foot cancer”.

It is the story of a family, which faces the first round of treatments with lousy jokes because it is sometimes best just to laugh and to keep one’s chin up. Of a family, which, after a whole year of chemotherapy, reaches the Holy Grail of complete remission and is headed back to normal life, ready to leave behind, but not to forget, its past misfortune.

But it is also the story of a family, which encounters cancer again after two years of respite, with a nasty relapse. Motivated to do more, they embark on an in-depth research effort, learning that all the reassuring innovations one hears about cancer in the news… are for adults only and do not benefit the children with cancer. And thus, they come to the conclusion that they have to act.

Hence the creation of KickCancer!

Since its creation, KickCancer grew and several other families joined the fight against paediatric cancers. Besides, thanks to several encounters, KickCancer decided to become a genuine patients’ organisation and to create a committee that gives survivors and parents a voice.

For those inquiring about Raphaël’s health: Raphaël relapsed again in 2019 but thanks to a very effective surgery, he is in remission again - and in great shape. The fight continues!

KickCancer is a public interest foundation working closely with the KickCancer Fund, a Fund dedicated to research in paediatric oncology managed by the King Baudouin Foundation.

We want to make sure all children with cancer are cured, and better cured. By supporting scientific research, removing obstacles and connecting people.

Board

In the KickCancer family, you will meet:

Delphine Heenen

The mother, founder, director and day-to-day manager. Delphine was successively a lawyer (Linklaters), a strategy consultant (Bain & Company) and active in the investment world of renewable energy (TTR energy). Delphine first supported Raphaël in his fight by, among other things, decorating his hospital bedroom with hundreds of drawings made by his school buddies. Since January 2017, she decided to change tactics and to move up another gear to fight childhood cancers by working full-time for KickCancer.

Gilles Dal

The father, founder and director. Gilles is an historian, a radio columnist and scenario writer for comic strips. In January 2018, a humorous play about children’s cancer, written by Gilles, was on the bill and a great success – just to prove you that yes indeed, it is possible to laugh about anything!

Jean-Charles van den Branden

The stepfather, founder and director. Jean-Charles is director at Bain & Company where he has been working for over twenty years. To go hand in hand with Raphaël during his fight against cancer, Jean-Charles learnt all about European soccer tournaments and players, from the Premier League to La Liga – and also, decided to devote part of his time and energy to KickCancer.

Marc Dal

The godfather, founder and director. Marc is a lawyer and partner at DALDEWOLF. After a difficult chemotherapy session for Raphaël, Marc brought Raphaël to the locker rooms of his favourite football club to meet his idols. On that occasion, Raphaël gave his favourite player some words of advice to win the next game… and guess what? He won!

Céline Ghins

The wonder director. Céline, trained as a lawyer, only worked in marketing in several fields (Bourjois, Shiseido and Fleuris Editions - Mardaga) before leaving for Malaysia where she joined the network of social entrepreneurs ‘Ashoka’ as volunteer. When their 8-months daughter was diagnosed with cancer, Céline and her husband Jérôme put their life on hold to fight by her side. From the long days in hospital they drew an outstanding mastership in the imitation of all sorts of animal noises to make their baby laugh. Once Léonor was declared in remission, Céline looked for a dynamic organization where she could devote some of her time in order to meaningfully contribute to defeat children's cancer. Her encounter with Delphine was decisive and since then, Céline actively supports KickCancer in its daily activities.

Hélène d’Udekem

Hélène has been a lawyer and in-house counsel for more than 10 years (Gide Loyrette Nouel, Liedekerke, Sofina). She currently holds a position as director in the medical field at ANBCT (rehabilitation centres) and has recently started an acting class. And she does know what performing is about: she spent days impersonating a clown to entertain her son while he was in an isolation room! When her 2-year-old son was diagnosed with a rhabdomyosarcoma, Hélène was shocked to discover that, despite her core beliefs, she came to realise that paediatric oncology is one of the least funded area in medical research. Now, she wants to put her experience as a mother, lawyer and actress at the service of KickCancer as she wants to contribute to foster better treatments that are truly adapted to children with cancer, to whom she wants to offer a good quality of life once in remission.

Deborah Janssens

Director, is a partner in M&A, corporate law and corporate finance in the law firm Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer in Brussels. Deborah supports the KickCancer foundation because she strongly believes that that research should not leave kids cancer behind and that children should have access to tailored treatments, which are more innovative and less aggressive for their growing body.

Christophe De Vusser

Director, director at Bain & Company where he has been working for over fifteen years. Christophe was very moved by the events touching his colleague Jean-Charles and his wife Delphine but he also felt the urge to support KickCancer because its mission does not only consist in pure philanthropy (matching donations and projects) but also requires a genuine strategy to improve the ways the “system” works so that the interests of children with cancer be finally taken into account.

Frédéric Rouvez

Director, is one of the founders and executives of the quality food restaurants EXKi. Frédéric wanted to join KickCancer’s battle in order to support the desire of Raphaël’s family to turn an adverse event into a force of change.

Jo Van Biesbroeck

Director, is Board member in Telenet, SFI (Lux) and Matexi; previously, he had a long executive career within the famous Belgian brewer AB InBev. Jo is very keen to see cancer research making progress in areas where there is little to no commercial interest to doing so - as is the case in paediatric cancer research.

An Winters

Director, started her career as a lawyer, then Chief Legal Officer with Etex and Tessenderlo Chemie. She is now consultant with Russel Reynolds. She can’t help it but as executive search consultant, she has a passion for connecting people - “it’s all about people” is her motto. In her position of director at KickCancer, she wants to help with her network and build connections in favour of the most defenseless population: sick kids! She cannot feel indifferent to children’s suffering as the mother of two sons! She has one dream - and knows she can: she wants to kick cancer away into another galaxy!

Don’t Skip Kids. Join the fight.

Who we are

Meet the KickCancer team:

Delphine Heenen

is not only a member of the board: she works full-time for KickCancer with the support of a kicking team!

In her day-to-day life at KickCancer, time flies... and it is hard to sum up what she does. Let's give it a try: she coordinates the team (of course!), attends conferences, meets researchers or politicians, reads scientific or legislative reports, looks for generous donators, enthusiastic runners or kind sponsors. In other words, she never stops and will not before the cancer monster is kicked far away!

Adeline Godefroid

Overly-motivated employee. Adeline is a business engineer by training. Because of the leukaemia that took her son away, she felt the urge to devote her energy to the fight against paediatric cancers since June 2018. She nurtures the hope that all children benefit from better treatments and are offered a serene future while she looks after the paperwork and the organisation of events for KickCancer as well as contributes to an increased awareness about the specific issues of paediatric cancers.

Sara Stala

With a track record of anthropologist and social worker, it will come as no surprise to you that Sara always felt like she wanted to engage for a (good) cause. After a first research position within the administration of the City of Leuven, Sara bumped into KickCancer where she immediately had a match: she could adopt its mission as its own. She goes out of her way to mark KickCancer’s communication style to reach and convince as many people as she can in Belgium and beyond!

I’m too small to cure, are you too big to care?