“The club of four was us! », Faustine, 39 years old, Lyon
We met in the radiation therapy waiting room. Our daily meetings at the same times, for several months, facilitated contact. I met Chloe’s sparkling gaze and immediately we burst into a knowing fit of laughter. Gilles and Pascale then joined in our joyful delirium. Our friendship was born. We were the club of four! Despite the seriousness of the context, we were happy to meet again: we waited for each other after our sessions, we thwarted evil with jokes, we told each other about our lives. After the treatments, we continued to see each other and support each other. And then there was Chloe’s recurrence. His departure shook us. Our club had lost a member. Our bond was then distended, but I know that it still remains somewhere…
“Together, we overcame our discomfort”, Myriam, 61, Vannes
We do not belong to the same generation, do not have the same way of life, and do not live in the same region. But that doesn’t matter! Our friendly meeting was obvious. With Léa, we got to know each other on a support forum on depression, and together we overcame the pangs of our ill-being. In private messaging, we talked about everything without embarrassment or taboo. In our sleepless nights, we shared our anxieties and our fears. And then one day, we decided to see each other in “real life”. It was strange. She was both a stranger and such a familiar being. On the station platform, everything was so fluid and natural! We wanted to hug each other like lifelong friends. Fifteen years later, we are still there for each other.
“He gave me lots of stars in my eyes”, Toma, 42 years old, Montpellier
I met Romain the year of the baccalaureate, during a sailing course in Brittany. We remained friends and only shared happy moments. And then, six years ago, following a motorcycle accident, I almost became a paraplegic. I was totally depressed. Romain was able to find the right words and gave me a hyperpositive image of myself. It boosted me. With him, I felt authorized to share my fears and my pains (which I did not do with my family). While I was completely bedridden, he told me about his travels. I then imagined going on a trek in the Moroccan Sahara. This vow, which we forged together, gave me the strength to fight, to stand up, and finally, to take this journey.
“They didn’t let go of me”, Ana, 30 years old, Champigny-sur-Marne
The announcement of my breast cancer had the effect of a bomb in my group of girlfriends whom I had known since adolescence. As everything wavered around me, they held out their arms to me. I remember this weekend in Normandy organized for me to breathe a deep breath of sea air. It touched me so much. There were long walks on the beach, the joy of being together, and a lot of complicity. We were in January and the wind was blowing hard. I had received the first course of chemo ten days earlier, my hair was starting to fall out. With apprehension, I imagined them flying away in the storm! We ended up laughing about it, and I felt that in their eyes I remained the same. Their affection gave me the strength to face the treatments with courage and combativeness.
“She’s my sister at heart”, Nathalie, 53, Dieppe
Our friendship dates from CM2. It feeds as much on dialogue as on silence. Because it is made of tenderness, trust, listening and respect. Since I was 23, I have suffered from Crohn’s disease. During each of my medical storms, Sylvie was by my side. His signs of affection always comfort me. Once, in a moment of discouragement, she gently took me in her arms: “Your projects are your life force,” she told me. Since then, it always carries me.
“A chain of solidarity has been created”, Éric, 54, Nancy
I had to undergo coronary bypass surgery which caused a lot of concern. I was bombarded with calls, had to give news. It was exhausting. I then had the idea of bringing my friends together on a WhatsApp group. A magnificent atmosphere was immediately released: positive energies, generosity and a desire to see me healed. Very quickly, and naturally, a chain of solidarity was organized. In turn, my friends came to kiss me. I have never been alone. When I left the hospital, they were waiting for me, and had even filled the refrigerator! This warmth and this affection really helped me perk me up.
“We form a big family”, Fabien, 35 years old, Conflans-Sainte-Honorine
At the announcement of my multiple sclerosis, at the age of 23, I lost all my friends, probably through ignorance of the disease. I felt very alone. By joining a support group on Facebook, Team Sep’Warriors, I finally made real connections. One day, we all met in a restaurant, near Nantes. The virtual became real, it was magic. These friendships between peers have nothing to do with encounters in life, because we talk to each other freely, without explaining or justifying ourselves. We talk about our treatments, we give each other tips to better overcome our ailments, and we share our passions, our moods. It’s very strong. We are one big, beautiful family.
Also to discover: This is how many times a week you should see your friends to be happy
Our expert’s opinion
Why does friendship help to heal?
Marie-Frédérique Laporte, psychocorporal therapist– It is a bond of love. When we feel loved, we feel stronger. It is also scientifically proven: love stimulates the immune defenses and strengthens the psyche. The friend comforts, consoles, encourages, protects from loneliness… These manifestations of support are therefore particularly beneficial in the healing process. Moreover, the friend completes the presence of the family, anxious even when it wants to be understanding and reassuring.
How should a “good friend” behave?
Marie-Frederique Laporte – First of all, he must respect the rhythm and the needs of the other, while being available. Neither invasive nor intrusive. A friend does not have to intervene in the treatment, except in a very discreet way. In other words, he must not infantilize or adopt a position of superiority. It is, moreover, important not to reduce the patient to his illness or to his status as a patient. Everyone remains above all a man or a woman with their identity before the diagnosis.