60 th Anniversary of Soroptimist International Belgium

What is Soroptimist International ( S.I.)?

Soroptimist Inernational. is an association of female service clubs. The spirit and objectives of the union are implied in the name, derived from the Latin words " soror" (sister) and "optimus" ( the best).

Soroptimists aim for high quality standards as well as social and human dimenions in their professional conduct.

Attention is given to:

The first Soroptimist club was founded in Oakland, California in 1921. European shoots sprouted first in London (1923), then in Paris (1924) and The Hague (1927).

Belgian burgeons appeared in Antwerp (1930) and in Brussels (1938). By then the Belgian Soroptimist shoot was strong enough to continue as a separate plant and a Belgian association was founded.

Together with 24 more assosiations, Soroptimist International Belgium forms the European federation.

Soroptimist International joins 4 federations: the American, the British, the European and the South West Pacific.

What does Soroptimist International Belgium (S.I.B.) celebrate?

The Belgian association was born in 1939 and therefore celebrates its 60th anniversary. Far from thinking about retirement, it is staging a party at the start of a second interesting youth in the parental home in Antwerp on the 26th and 27th June.

How does S.I.B. celebrate?

Apart from the organisation of a cultural week end "Van Dyck", " THE FOUNDATION SOROPTIMIST BELGIUM –50TH ANNIVERSARY" puts up an award of 400 00 BEF.

This award is granted to a woman who has distinguished herself in one or more area’s embedded in the S.I. program:

Moreover the allocation of the award is to be granted to a project, linked to the action program " The Child and Violence" of the European president 1998-2000, Hélène Van Themsche.

"Violence" has to be understood as any action or situation that prevents a normal and healthy physical and psychological development of a child.

The competing projects were judged by the board of arbitrage of S.I.B..

Adjucation of the award

After careful judgement the award was granted to : Pascale De Becker, scientific researcher at the Department of Internal Medicine, A.C.-VUB, Brussels.

The committee wanted to honour this young woman for her special achievement in researching a diagnosis and possible therapies for children and adolescents suffering from the Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

Such a chronic, socially and sociologically stigmatising ailment is clearly understood as violence against a child.

Who is the laureate?

Pascale De Becker Pascale De Becker is 27, Master in motoric Revalidation and Fysiotherapy.
She is a scientific researcher at the Independent University of Brussels (VUB) and proceeds a doctor’s degree on the subject "Epidemiological,Pathofysiological and Neuroendocrene aspects of the Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.".

Pascale De Becker is since 1994, co-author of various scientific publications and lectures on the Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.
In 1995 she organised the international congress "First World Congress on Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Related Disorders".

In 1998 she received the "American Association for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome’s Junior Investigator Award"for her fundamental research about this syndrome.

What is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome? (C.F.S.)

A syndrome similar to C.F.S. had already been described in medical literature in the 19th century, but only recently, during the last decade, did it receive more attention.

The number of patients seems to increase and the age of sufferers has gone down. More and more children are victim of the disease. In the UK Chronic Fatigue Syndrome has become the major reason for long term absence in schools.

The estimated number of patients in Belgium amounts to 15000, which represents about 1 ‰ to 1,5 ‰ of the total population. The number may be higher as still many medical doctors are unfamiliar with this disorder and therefore fail to recognise it.

CFS is an invalidating illness with symptoms e.g..:

Many of the symptoms are overlapping those of MS, AIDS, Alzheimer Disease and depression, but the syndrome does not really fit into any of these categories.

The project.

The S.I.B. Award will be used to partly finance a scientific study on Mycoplasma infections as a possible cause for CFS . The project will focus on young patients. 30 blood samples will be taken and sent to the expert lab in the United States. A special treatment with antibiotics over a 6 month period will be proposed to those patients who show positive test result on one or more types of Mycoplasma infections.

Blood samples will also be taken and tested after the treatment, in order to study the efficiency of the treatment.