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, 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, with nasty relapses. 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.

KickCancer is a public interest foundation working closely with the Friends of the KickCancer Foundation 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 was consultant with Russel Reynolds and is now Senior Client Partner at Korn Ferry. She can’t help it but 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.

Our team

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!

Nathalie De Clercq

Nathalie, Kicker-in-Marketing, studied economics. Prior to joining the KickCancer team, she worked for Chanel group and Lactalis Nestlé as brand manager. Proud mom of three blond-haired punks, she developed proprietary skills in the building of bridges, cabins, castles with duplo, lego, kapla, wood branches… all of this in the (hopeless?) desire to tame their overwhelming enthusiasm. Once she joined the KickCancer team, she attacked a wholly different construction project: a money machine to raise funds and finance research on children’s cancer, so that all young patients get cured and enjoy a healthy life after their treatment. In exclusivity, here is the receipt for this famous machine: one cup of the extreme necessity of one’s position, two tablespoons of charm and one generous pinch of tenacity.

Annelies

Annelies, Kicker-in-Communication, studied Communication Sciences and Journalism. She acquired her first experiences in the audiovisual production and public relations sectors. Writing and communicating really is Annelies’ passion and strong suit. She acquired diaries before she could even write and going to primary school was the best thing ever for her: she would finally learn to write, and she would become a great and famous writer (while her school mates probably wanted to become astronauts or singers…). After an initial phase of fiction stories on adventurous kids and runaway dogs, when the opportunity to work for KickCancer arose, Annelies could not help but rise to occasion to explain loud and clear to the whole world that children with cancer need better treatments. Her role in the team is key as awareness is a first step to changing things… and advocacy runs through Annelies’ as much as KickCancer’s blood.

Valentine Janssen

Valentine, Kicker-in-Operations, studied Marketing and Management. Before KickCancer, she worked for 15 years at Proximus and later Delhaize - that’s when she met the kicking team and fell under the spell of their kicks… No wonder, considering Valentine’s strong character, for which she has built quite a reputation since her youngest age. For KickCancer, she is in charge of the organisation of RUN TO KICK and of all their other events. Her greatest talent, for which she has built ancestral knowledge: or-ga-ni-sa-tion. Her first feat of arms? A party thrown in honour of the singer Dorothée. Truth be told: Dorothée never showed up… Valentine was tricked by April’s fool. But there is only one person on earth who will regret this bad joke forever: Dorothée, as the party was grander that Tomorrowland itself (which was yet to be invented!). If your motto is “seeing is believing”: just register to our next edition of RUN TO KICK!

Alice Gerbaux

Alice, Kicker-in-Empowerment, has a diploma in economics. She started her career in sales for BIC and Nestlé and later became in charge of marketing and communication for a NGO active in the field of sustainable forests. Born in a family of doctors, and eager since her younger age to defend Justice with a capital J, she always used her world-famous outspokenness to stand for common good or her right to eat pastries every day at breakfast. With this track record, she naturally landed at KickCancer to be in charge of the defence of young patients with cancer, and more specifically so by supervising a training that will help them gain the very impressive title of expert patient and coordinating their participation in international and KickCancer’s internal projects. The final aim of Alice’s role is to ensure that research and the legal framework meet the needs of sick children and lead to more efficacious and less toxic treatments.

Caroline Stals

Caroline, Kicker-in-Empowerment, has (notarial and) legal training and worked for almost ten years in a notary’s office. She first stepped into KickCancer as volunteers to help for Eclair Day – indeed, Caroline loooves biting into eclairs. Yet, was bitten who thought would bite and eventually, Caroline was bitten by her passion to stand and advocate for children with cancer… At KickCancer’s, Caroline collaborates with Alice to strengthen on our patients empowerment pillar. In that capacity, she recruits patients to attend our training to turn them into expert patients, she assigns them to research projects to ensure the patients’ view is duly taken into account and she manages our internal projects with an eye on our final goal: ensure that research and the legal framework meet the needs of sick children and lead to more efficacious and less toxic treatments.

Marine Gouders

Marine, Junior Kicker-in-Advocacy, studied law and specialised in European law. She travelled Europe inside out: she backpacked the continent and did a warm-up internship at the European Parliament. She was in scouts for 15 years and yet, she still finds children super cute. She could have continued to play hide-and-seek to kick cancer, but after all, why not use her legal skills to advocate better European regulations to accelerate research and improve the life of children with cancer? Together with Delphine and Caroline, KickCancer can now count on a junior kicker eager to invest her youthful energy in the fight against burdensome regulations. Beware, for Marine, cancer is no game!

Fiona Debève

Fiona, junior Kicker-in-Efficiency, has a diploma in business engineering. Right off the benches of university, she landed at KickCancer to juggle with numbers and produce in-depth analysis of our initiatives, balanced budgets, and watertight databases – not to mention the magic oil that she pours into the wheels of the team to ensure that our digital tools give us efficiency superpowers! Let’s talk a bit about the magic oil, which she discovered it at a very young age. It will not come as a surprise that it is the oil that is to be found in the chocolate spread that can be seen in many of the picture of hers at the age of four. Beware: when you blend this magic oil to her fierce determination, outstanding financial results are likely to ensue!

Eric Peeters

Eric, Kicker-in-Administration, studied economics and communication but landed quite by chance in the restaurants business. He first gained experience by working with Fred Nicolaÿ and later owned and ran for more than twenty years a franchise from the Pain Quotidien group where he developed sharp organisational skills, rigour and quite a liking for human relations while selling viennoiserie and baguettes. A little while ago, he made a professional reconversion by taking over the administrative management of the architecture firm AWAA, he now ensures that bread always falls on the buttered side for children’s cancer by overlooking part time KickCancer’s administration so that - as Delphine Sr puts it- “papers be neatly sorted and filed!”. Such is his personal contribution to the so significant purpose of the Foundation, by ensuring its renown efficacy be tripled to fight kids’ cancer!

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