April 2014 will mark the beginning of a year of commemoration. We are celebrating the 20th anniversary of Jérôme Lejeune’s death and, until April 2015, the creation of the Jérôme Lejeune Foundation: 20 years of scientific and ethical challenge.
“There is only one way I can save them, and that is by curing them “ this is the mission the professor Lejeune gave himself and is also the mission that was taken on by the Foundation when he died, 20 years ago.
Over the last 20 years, mentalities have changes and the way people look at people with Down Syndrome has evolved. However, there is still a lot of work to be done and the barriers are great. By treating patients who have chromosomal intelligence diseases, and helping and orientating their families the Foundation and the Institute are carrying on the work started by the professor during his consultations at Necker. As explained by one of his friends, the academician Lucien Israël, “The greatest revolution in Jérôme Lejeune’s work is to have enabled these children, through his frequent consultations, his advice, his encouragement, his gestures of love and comprehension and his gentleness, to accept themselves as they are and recognise themselves as human beings .”
The events related to the 20th anniversary we are celebrating all year is a wonderful opportunity to rediscover the legacy and words of the man who died on the 3rd of April 1994.
An ambassador for the 20 year olds. This year the Foundation is lucky to have a great ambassador. Keenan Kampa is 24 years old and is putting her image as a ballet dancer at the service of the Foundation. She will be joining in with this year’s celebrations by being present at various events. Invested in her role as an ambassador, you will also find her in the supplement for the 20 year olds, throughout the year.
The first event will take place in the hall of the " Collège des Bernardins” (a French school in Paris) on Tuesday, 8th of March.
Jean Marie Le Méné, president of the Foundation, Arnold Munnich, professor and head of the genetics department at the Necker Hospital and Bishop Jacques Suaudeau, member of the Pontifical academy for life will be answering this topic: “Jérôme Lejeune, a conscience for today’s science.” This conference will be broadcasted on “Radio Notre-Dame” (a French catholic radio channel) and “Kto” (a French catholic television channel)
The Foundation will also enable people to rediscover Professor Jérôme Lejeune’s scientific work during an exposition entitled “Jérôme Lejeune, the precursor”. It was conceived for the 2012 annual gathering at Rimini in Italy. As it turned out to be a huge success, the exposition has been adapted to the French public for this 20th anniversary. Jérôme Lejeune taught us that chromosomal intellectual diseases are not a fatality. Being cured from them is possible and according to him it would need less effort than the efforts that were put into sending a man on the moon in the 60s. 20 years after the professor died, the Foundation is still trying, with your help, to reach the moon.
Keenan is a young patient cared for at the Jérôme Lejeune Institute