Zoé's story

Zoé, the little girl who dreamed of growing up and wearing heels.

Zoé's story is both magical and tragic. She was born with a rare form of cancer. When she relapsed at the age of four, Zoé's family and friends rallied around her. The aim was to raise the funds needed to finance treatment abroad. They founded the Zoé4life association.

Zoé was born on October 28, 2008. She was hospitalized from birth at the Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Vaudois (CHUV). She was suffering from a cancer called 'neuroblastoma'. She spent almost three months there before being able to go home. In April 2009, the cancer returned. She underwent chemotherapy and had the tumour removed until she was declared to be in remission again in October 2009.

However, Zoé relapsed again in October 2011, and was treated using a more intensive protocol. Chemotherapy, then high-dose chemotherapy, followed by an autologous stem cell transplant. However, despite signs that the treatment was working, she relapsed again in the spring of 2013.

Zoé was four and a half at the time. Against the odds, she was doing well, always laughing and dreaming of becoming a nurse at the CHUV, and of being able to wear high heels.

The new treatment plan was highly complex, and some of it would need to take place outside Switzerland.

The birth of Zoé4life

Meanwhile, Natalie and Nicole met at the CHUV while their children, Zoé and Elliot, were being treated for cancer. Both mums published blogs, enjoyed writing and sharing, but above all, they dreamed of making a difference by raising awareness of childhood cancer, which is still too taboo in Switzerland.

They struck up a close friendship and had lots of ideas for projects.

When Zoé relapsed in the spring of 2013, Nicole suggested setting up an association to raise the funds needed to finance last-chance treatment, which was only available abroad.

Zoé's family and friends joined Nicole and the association Zoé4life was born in May 2013.

Unfortunately, it was too late for Zoé and a cure was no longer possible. Towards the end, with the support of the medical team and the Make a Wish Foundation, Zoé4life organized a trip to Florida for Zoé's family. That was where she met Winter the dolphin, fulfilling another of Zoé's long-held dreams.

On October 26, 2013, Zoé passed away in Florida, in her mum's arms, two days before her fifth birthday.

Zoé so loved LIFE, and merely wanted to grow up.

After her death, Zoé4life decided to continue her fight and to make a real difference in the world of paediatric cancer.

Our supporters

Zoé4life's partners, sponsors, and donors

Our warmest thanks go to our partners, sponsors and donors, who empower us to accomplish our mission: to cure more and cure better.

The Zoé4life team

Together we can make a difference

The executive committee manages the association with support from an advisory board of experts and specialists in various fields. The Zoé4life team also relies on the commitment of many volunteers.