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Ministry's powerful voices win prize for Seychellois 6-year-old

Victoria, Seychelles | December 28, 2016, Wednesday @ 17:35 in National » HEALTH | By: Patsy Athanase and Betymie Bonnelame | Views: 3507
Ministry's powerful voices win prize for Seychellois 6-year-old

The winner of this year's sing for charity event is the choir from the Ministry of Environment, Energy and Climate Change, whose chosen charitable cause was Deron Francoise (Alain Decommarmond - Ministry of Environment, Energy and Climate Change)

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(Seychelles News Agency) - Sing for Charity, a charitable event sponsored by the Seychelles Broadcasting Corporation (SBC), has this year brought a smile to a six-year-old boy suffering from a rare condition.

The winner of this year's event is the choir from the Ministry of Environment, Energy and Climate Change, whose chosen charitable cause was Deron Francoise, who has mitochondrial disease.

Francoise will get the $1850 prize won by the choir after a month-long competition during the month of December, during which viewers were invited to vote for their best choir. The prizes were handed out on Tuesday. 

Deron’s mother, Diana Payet, told SNA she was extremely happy that the choir had chosen her son as their charitable cause.

“I am very happy that the public voted for the Ministry of Environment, Energy and Climate Change so that my son could receive this much-needed assistance”, said Payet. 

Deron was born with mitochondrial disease -- a chronic, genetic disorder that occurs when the mitochondria of the cell fail to produce enough energy for cell or organ function.

Mitochondria are known as the powerhouses of the cells and are responsible for creating more than 90% of the energy needed by the body to sustain life and support organ function.

Deron’s mother, Diana Payet extremely happy that the choir had chosen her son as their charitable cause. (Alain Decommarmond - Ministry of Environment, Energy and Climate Change) Photo License: CC-BY 

Deron became paralysed last year as a result of the disease and now moves with the help of a wheelchair. According to his mother, he needs full-time supervision and has a caregiver during the day even when going to school.

Payet said her son takes medications three times daily and is followed closely by doctors through several medical appointments every month.

The choir’s spokesperson, Nan Laure, said last year the ministry’s choir did not make it to the final and was happy that it did make the final this year and sang for such a good cause. 

Laure explained that the choir had initially chosen another boy, but his parents said he was already receiving assistance.

“They, therefore, suggested we look deeper in the community which in itself was charitable. That’s when Deron’s name came up,” explained Laure.

For the final, the choir sang ‘Petit Garcon’ (Little Boy) the French version of popular Christmas song, Old Toy’s Train by Roger Miller.

“When Diana explained Deron's health condition, we instantly developed a special bond with him and his is one of the many cases that we are not aware of and maybe by winning this competition it helps to think of others,” Laure told SNA.

Laure said they were all overjoyed to win the competition as it was a tough one.

“We gave the song its own arrangements and did it justice during the finals,” said Laure adding that in the end they were told it came down to public votes.

The group also took to social media, via text messages and emails to garner support for their song.

“We also had Deron's mum's support and that was very important as we wanted to win so badly for this little boy.

The choir of the Ministry of Environment, Energy and Climate Change are winners of the sing for charity 2016 and received their prize on Tuesday.(Alain Decommarmond - Ministry of Environment, Energy and Climate Change) Photo License: CC-BY

“The Office Choir – Sing for Charity,” was initiated in 2013 by SBC the national broadcasting company of Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean.  

 According to an SBC producer Kurtis Lespoir, initially, its aim was to bring together employees.

 “In 2014, we went a bit further and decided to get the choirs from various organisations to sing for a cause- be it an association, a family or an individual- and the winning choir hands their prize to their chosen cause,” said Lespoir.

He added that although there is only one winner, the competition is also a way to shed light on other people’s plight.

“The competition gives the individual, family or association exposure so that anyone who is touched by their story and wants to contribute, can do so”, said Lespoir.

The competition was not organised last year. The winner for 2014 was the choir from the Ministry of Health.

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Tags: Mitochondrial disease, Ministry of Environment, Energy and Climate Change, Sing for Charity

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