Unbelievable. After suffering from Huntington’s disease in the Orne, Olivier and his children succeeded in climbing Kilimanjaro

“We stand out against Huntington,” Kilimanjaro challenged ©DR

“We almost forgot about the disease,” says Charlaine, 22, of climbing Kilimanjaro from July 25 to 31 with her brother Theo and father Olivier, who has Huntington’s disease.

The dream is to take everyone to the top

Anyone who plays rugby knows that she is a carrier of the genes for the disease, but to date has no symptoms. A football and handball player, Theo is a young bachelor. He has not yet been tested for Huntington’s disease.

In France, 18,000 people are carriers of Huntington’s disease

This disease, also known as Huntington’s chorea, is a neurological, hereditary, incurable and orphan degeneration. This often leads to “unsteady gait, restlessness, tics and sudden movements (…), disorientation, memory problems, emotional disturbances,” the Huntington’s Association in France says on its website.
In France, 18,000 people are carriers of this gene, and among them 6,000 already have symptoms.

Challenges
for their father

Huntington’s disease especially affects Charline and Theo. “Our dad, who is 48 years old, will soon be 49, is now in an advanced stage of the disease. It is very difficult for him to walk, talk, swallow and perform everyday tasks such as cleaning and cooking,” the girl told us. But Olivier Pouillet is a former athlete. He played football and basketball for many years in L’Aigle (Orne) teams.
Before him, his mother Muriel Pouillet, a municipal councilor from March 1989 to June 1995 in L’Aigle, also suffered from Huntington’s disease. As for Charlaine, the young woman has known that she has been carrying the gene for three years. Symptoms will inevitably appear, but it is impossible to know when. His little brother will only be able to take the tests when he reaches adulthood.

A former L’Aigle athlete, their father Olivier walks awkwardly and has difficulty speaking, but is fully conscious. Olivier can no longer drive and makes frequent appointments with a physical therapist. For this family of eagle athletes, the challenges, launched every year since 2018, are a way to surpass themselves and take on a new dimension.

Charline talks about the ordeal of Kilimanjaro. “Everything went very well. We exceeded our expectations,” she said. Olivier’s daughter notes that “we accomplished all the goals to get everyone to the top. A dream. “It must be said that the ascent was carried out in the company of thirty members of the association “We detonate against Huntington” , as well as 27-year-old Sofiana, who also suffers from the disease.

Everyone pushed behind Olivier, who has Huntington's disease, to help him walk
Everyone rallied behind Olivier, who has Huntington’s disease, to help him climb a mountain in north-east Tanzania ©DR

physically difficult

In Tanzania, they brought the joëlette, a manual mountain wheelchair that allows you to walk. “For the first four days of climbing, he didn’t need it at all from 2,000 meters to 4,700 meters,” says Charline.

However, on the day of the last ascent, her father used a jolet from the first half of the second peak to descend 2,500 vertical meters. It was more difficult, but he never thought of quitting. She says that “at two o’clock in the morning it was very cold and he was walking very slowly. »

A team of eight guides were there to push him and help him back to the last peak, which was higher.

CharlieOlivier’s daughter, suffering from Huntington’s disease

A third of the ascent was done in daylight.

Video: Now on Actu

Charlaine “didn’t feel the lift at all” like her brother Theo. “When I came back from hiking in Latin America, I didn’t suffer at all from the climb and 5,900 meters. “But from the first summit” Theo felt the altitude and found it very difficult physically for the last 400 meters with extreme fatigue and difficulty moving forward. »

Charlaine, Theo and their father in front of Kilimanjaro
Charlaine, Theo and their father in front of Kilimanjaro ©DR

“Extremely caring”

The rugby player took the course “before going there because my only goal was to get my dad up and around, it was by accident. “During the climb, I realized I had completely screwed up,” admits Charline. She admits that “people were shocked by Huntington’s disease, and they took a great interest in my father and his case with extraordinary kindness and help. “I’m not sure he would have succeeded without these people,” says the young woman. During the assault on Kilimanjaro, Charline saw positive effects in her father’s behavior as, in particular, he “started talking again. “He became a person again when he was a social recluse for other years,” she says.

Next year, Olivier’s daughter has already “thought of ideas for challenges”, but Charlaine will talk about it later. To fund Huntington’s disease research, the kitten is open online until December.

Practice. To find out more about their next challenges, you can follow Charline, Theo and their father Olivier on the Facebook page of the association “On détonnant contre Huntington”.

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