Rio Tinto’s has been involved with the On the Tip of the Toes Foundation’s Double Challenge of the Two Marios since its inception, and this year marks the 15th edition. The expedition on the ice of Lac Saint-Jean is one of the organisation’s major activities to raise funds to allow young people with cancer to experience the benefits of a therapeutic adventure.
For Jean-Charles Fortin, General Manager of the On the Tip of the Toes Foundation, the partnership with Rio Tinto is a perfect fit. Rio Tinto employees have been naturally drawn to the Double Challenge of the Two Marios ever since its inception, and they have acted as true ambassadors of the cause.
“We would like to express our gratitude and appreciation both to the company and its people,” he said. “Rio Tinto has always believed in us, and it always returns to support our organisation.”
In addition the major corporate donation, the Double Challenge of the Two Marios counts on the extensive participation of Rio Tinto Employees. “When it’s their first crossing, many people are initially interested in the athletic aspect of the challenge. Then they return because the cause is close to their hearts.”
For three days, the participants face the elements as they cross the ice of Lac Saint Jean on skis or snowshoes. It is an enriching experience that brings people together.
“Like the young people diagnosed with cancer, they are called upon to push themselves and step out of their comfort zone,” said Fortin. “We want them to experience something similar to what these youth people go through. This helps them recognise the power of our tool (therapeutic interventions through nature and adventure) for themselves and see how it impacts them.”
In the weeks that follow, participants feel a deep sense of pride and accomplishment. “They become aware of the importance of this gesture in changing the lives of young people with cancer.”
Considerable Benefits for Young People with Cancer
The On the Tip of the Toes Foundation supports young people with cancer by giving them the chance to take part in a therapeutic adventure.
“Our involvement with the young people is not limited to the expedition, which is the culmination of the intervention program,” Fortin explained. “We are with them before and after the expedition, for a period of between eight and ten months.”
The young people derive many benefits from participating in the program. For one thing, it is an opportunity for them to feel understood and listened to by peers who are going through a similar ordeal.
“There have been several studies on the psychological impact of therapeutic intervention through nature and adventure revealing that it has a positive effect on autonomy, self-confidence and self-esteem and fosters quality relationships,” said Fortin. “It’s undeniable—it works! We’re making a real difference in the lives of young people with cancer and their families, who are also affected. Rio Tinto is doing a lot for these young people. It is contributing in a big way.”