ICM, to enable men to remain free

Since 2007, Patrice Lafargue and Francis Joyon have chosen to support the cause represented by the ICM and to display on their sails and cars, the colours of the Brain and spinal cord Institute. Professor Gérard Saillant, who was the initiator of this research institute, which is the only one of its kind in the world, and Jean Todt, (founding member and president of the FIA), the guest sponsors of the previous IDEC maxi-trimaran, often attend the major events organised on behalf of the ICM by the IDEC Group.

This latest programme will be an opportunity to promote medical research and support the ICM (the Brain and Spinal Cord Institute), which is based at the University teaching hospiatl, la Pitié-Salpêtrière in Paris. The only one of its kind in the world, the ICM brings together 500 researchers and technicians fighting against diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and multiple sclerosis. Its motto? “To allow men to remain free in their movements and their thoughts.” And let’s remember that freedom is what pushes forward sailors like Francis Joyon and the IDEC SPORT team…

Leading ambassadors like Luc Besson, Maurice Lévy, Jean Todt, Michael Schumacher, Jean Réno and many others have offered their support to the project, which is taking up this huge public health challenge. Francis Joyon and IDEC SPORT are with them as they sail around the world, hoping to be followed and copied by others in supporting this major cause.

The ICM (the Brain and Spinal Cord Institute) is a private foundation registered with charity status. Founded by three world-renowned French doctors – Yves Agid, Professor in neurology and neurosciences; Olivier Lyon-Caen, Professor in neurology and Gérard Saillant, Professor in orthopaedic surgery and traumatology – the ICM is an innovative and ambitious pilot project based in the heart of the la Pitié-Salpêtrière Hospital in Paris, France’s biggest hospital and one of the world’s leading centres in the field of nervous system disorders.

Gérard Saillant: “Francis Joyon, an example for us all!”

Professor Gérard Saillant met Francis Joyon ten years or so ago, when Patrice Lafargue, for personal reasons decided to promote the French Brain and Spinal Cord Institute on the IDEC maxi-trimaran. The surgeon and sailor got on well in spite of their very different jobs and the difficulties they face.

Gérard Saillant, admits he knows very little about the sea and sailing, but admires the sailor and what he has achieved in the face of adversity. He sees Francis as an exemplary figure: “From the outset I was struck by his generosity and charitable nature,” he explained. “Very different from the cold image associated with sailors, I found someone who is very open and interested in everything.  He was naturally interested in what we dio and our problems. I then followed closely his feats, which are stunning.” Joyon’s achievements inspire the researcher. “Francis knows how to bring people together and find people with the skills required to achieve amazing things. That is something we understand in the world of scientific research. He is someone, who is a pioneer, going into the unknown rather like our researchers venturing into the human brain. He understood that to succeed requires a team. That is why his recent adventures and those that lie ahead with an international crew interest me so much. He managed to bring together all the skills required to achieve a clear goal. It is a chain, where every link is important and has to remain together in the face of adversity. That in itself is an achievement. This forthcoming round the world voyage is something the teams at the ICM and myself will be watching closely. A daily adventure, which excites and fascinates and inspires us…”