In 2010 Belgium and Luxembourg – which joined the adventure in 2001 – raised EUR 7.8 million for the National Scientific Research Fund. To date, Télévie has raised more than EUR 100 million, a fabulous sum of money. While the 23rd edition is in full swing, Alain Simons spoke enthusiastically about his passionate commitment to Télévie that is saving lives.
You’ve just launched a new show related to Télévie on RTL-TVI. What’s it about?
It’s a 2 minute 30 second mini-format that I host every day of the week at 18:25. The show is called Faisons gagner la vie and its objective is to highlight the fantastic work that is being done by volunteers. Throughout the year in French-speaking Belgium, in big cities and in tiny villages, Belgians with big hearts organise various events to raise money to help Télévie. In all, we’re going to broadcast 45 shows, in this way honouring the work of volunteers. To me it’s just a basic courtesy for RTL Belgium to shine a spotlight on these unknown people. Faisons gagner la vie is an opportunity to show RTL-TVI viewers what happens on the ground and hopefully give them the desire to attend one event or another, as I announce the schedule of weekend events each Friday.
What does Télévie represent for you personally?
As for this magnificent wave of solidarity that travels through Belgium every year, it’s been 22 years and it never ceases to amaze me: the Belgians’ unfailing commitment and the viewers’ enormous generosity always touch my heart deeply. I should say that the objective we hope to achieve is enormous, but it isn’t crazy. Thanks to advances made in research, together we can beat cancer. This terrible word concerns all of us. Everyone knows someone in their family or circle of friends that is contaminated by this poison. This helps to explain our motivation, my motivation, too.
What has changed in 22 years?
The situation is evolving positively. With the advances made in science, 90 per cent of children’s leukaemias can now be cured. Even so, efforts should not be slowed down, because every five days, a child in Belgium dies of cancer. As for the initiative itself, and even though it is RTL Belgium that started it all more than 20 years ago, this show of solidarity is beyond belief. Télévie no longer belongs to RTL, it is the public that has made it its own. In other words, Télévie is the property of the Belgians, it’s their cause. I think this is a unique case. To my knowledge, I don’t know of any other charitable movement that has become the cause of an entire people in this way. Here at RTL Belgium, we are more than 100 per cent committed. More than ever, we continue to stay involved by providing airtime, thus giving the cause greater exposure, by appealing for donations, and simply just by giving.
In 2010, Télévie raised EUR 7.8 million for the FNRS
About Alain Simons
Television and radio personality Alain Simons is a figurehead of RTL Belgium. From 1987 to 1994, he presented the first game show on RTL-TVI, Coup de dés, a home game invented entirely by the channel. He caused ratings to go through the roof, and the show ended up scoring higher audience figures than the evening news on the public channel that was broadcast in the same time slot. In 1989 Alain Simons also hosted Dix qu’on aime, a variety show that let young beginners take their first steps in the song world before becoming stars. In 2000 he presented Qui sera millionnaire?, which is his fondest memory of his career. Alain Simons has also been a presence on Bel RTL since the station’s debut.