Justine Henin tries to get sick kids to exercise with a new project: ‘They can also push the boundaries in their struggle’ | Tennis

TennisWith just as much enthusiasm as in her tennis career, Justine Henin, 39, is committed to a good cause: at Liege Hospital, she wants to help sick children play sports with her Justine Henin Foundation.

Initially, it was ten years of “Justine for Kids” which has now moved to the Justine Henin Foundation. “Even when I was number one in the world, I already thought: ‘I have to do something good with this fame,'” the 40-year-old mum said on June 1. The only common denominator in her projects: helping children. Until now. “Research and experience have shown that sick and disabled children benefit greatly from sports,” Henin said. “Not only to get them out of the isolation of their hospital environment and simply because it is healthy, but also because it has a social impact and they can also apply certain values, such as going beyond their limits, in the fight against their disease.”

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The Walloon icon has thrown himself into the two-year “Gym & Joy” project at the new Liège Hospital CHC MontLégia. The goal is primarily to raise funds (165,000 euros) for a multi-sports court just outside the clinic, but also to be able to offer more coaching and sports in the long term – “Why don’t you forget tennis?” Henin laughed — and more children — “By 2025, we want to help 750 children” — lending a helping hand to them. “When I was young, I myself was touched by my mother’s suffering (she died of cancer when Henin was 12, editor), so helping sick children is most important to me,” Henin said.

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With two kids (nine-year-old Lali and five-year-old Victor) to be promoted, her role as a tennis commentator at Eurosport, among others, and especially her well-functioning academy at Limlet, Henin is now taking on another commitment. “I wanted to get involved in person,” she said. “I am an ambassador and spokesperson, in order to try to impress VIPs with our groundbreaking work. Belgium is not an easy country to launch these types of projects, but with the help of our partners, organizing events and donations, we hope to get the finances in order. Sport is important, I want to help convey that message.”

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Amber Webster

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