Belgian completes wheelbarrow tour of country to raise funds for children’s charity
Share article:
Share article:

Belgian completes wheelbarrow tour of country to raise funds for children’s charity

Credit: Igor Pliner

Hundreds gathered in Brussels’ Grand-Place on Sunday to cheer 28-year-old Cécile Desmeth as she completed a month-long fundraiser which saw her walk throughout Belgium pushing a heavily loaded wheelbarrow.

Credit: Igor Pliner

Desmeth set off on foot from her home in the Walloon town of Ohey, near Namur, on 1 August, pushing along a 50 kg wheelbarrow carrying her belongings.

Credit: Igor Pliner

The Brussels native, who is a member of the army, decided to embark on the challenge to raise funds for a Mistral Gagnant, an association for children with chronic illnesses or with disabilities which helps make their wishes a reality.

Speaking to photojournalist Igor Pliner Desmeth, Desmeth said the wheelbarrow was nothing compared to the load these children carry every day of their lives.

Credit: Igor Pliner

“It’s my own way of paying homage to these kids because, ultimately, what is a 600 km journey with a wheelbarrow compared to what these kids are going through?”

Credit: Igor Pliner

Desmeth said she was dumbfounded by the interest Belgians took in her journey, which saw her traverse some of the major cities of Belgium: Liège, Namur, Mons, Ostend, Bruges, Ghent and Antwerp, with the Belgian capital marking the final stage of her adventure.

Credit: Igor Pliner

“I didn’t think it would blow up this much, but it was being followed by practically all of Belgium, it was huge,” she said, adding that she decided to embark on her trip following the isolation period brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.

Credit: Igor Pliner

The journey, she said, was like having “all of humanity thrust into my face — from day one,” an experience which she said she still struggled to put into words.

Credit: Igor Pliner

Desmeth was able to raise €15,000 for the organisation, with her exploit celebrated by a crowd of Brussels residents who, flanked by Fabian Maingain, Brussels city councillor for jobs and economic affairs, braved the rain to come see her arrive in the city square.

Gabriela Galindo
The Brussels Times
Photos by Igor Pliner

Latest news

Belgian Health Minister wants pharmacists to administer vaccines
Federal Health Minister Frank Vandenbroucke has said he wants to change Belgium's law to allow pharmacists to administer Covid-19 vaccines against, ...
Ruined photos from flood victims restored for free
Much of what victims of this summer’s deadly flooding lost is irreplaceable, but when it comes to photographs that were ruined, a Brussels company is ...
New Belgian video game aims to help children who stutter
A new video game by Belgian-American start-up Say It Labs aims to teach children with a stutter various techniques to improve their speech.  ...
More than 1 in 4 Belgians use mobile phones whilst driving
A recent European study into the use of mobile phones whilst driving highlights some alarming results: 26% of Belgians read or send messages on their ...
Belgium in Brief: Memories Of Masks
Belgium's experts are concerned with the rising coronavirus figures. One possible solution could be that, once again, masks are used more widely. ...
Museum Night Fever returns to Brussels on Saturday night
After a break last year, Museum Night Fever 2021 is back again with free visits to 32 museums hosting performances, music and other events. The ...
More than €1.5 billion injected into SNCB
More than €1.5 billion in additional funding has been injected into the Belgian railways, Federal Mobility Minister Georges Gilkinet told the House ...
Non-vaccinated applicants no longer welcome at ZNA hospitals in Antwerp
The Antwerp hospital group ZNA is only taking on new employees who have been vaccinated against the coronavirus, according to reporting from VRT. ...
Pharmacies prepare to administer more rapid antigen tests
From November, anyone presenting coronavirus symptoms for less than six days will be able to take a rapid antigen test in a pharmacy, announced the ...
Chocolate, Christmas, and cocaine
Do you consider yourself a news buff? Someone constantly on top of what's going on? Then maybe you have what it takes to ace The Brussels Times ...
Introduction of Covid Safe Ticket leads more in Brussels to get vaccinated
The introduction of the Covid Safe Ticket (CST) in the Brussels-Capital Region on 15 October seems to have led to a higher number of residents ...
More and more testimonies, and a second rally against sexual violence in Brussels
A second rally against sexual violence was held in the Brussels neighbourhood of Ixelles on Thursday evening, and a sister-rally was held ...