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Wolky x Leontienhuis

WOLKY CARES: LEONTIENHUIS

LESS CHANCE OF INJURY, MORE WALKING PLEASURE!
Wolky has been sponsoring the Leontienhuis, a drop-in centre for young people with eating disorders and their families, ever since it opened. In return, founder Leontien Zijlaard-van Moorsel is the ambassador for Wolky’s e-walk®, the e-bike of walking shoes. Because Leontien is committed to getting women to exercise more, the e-walk® is a shoe after her own heart.
  Leontien-Foundation_Het leontienhuis staat voor een tweede thuis

Lowering the threshold to exercise for women, and making it fun – that has long been the mission of former racing cyclist Leontien van Moorsel, who knows how much positive energy just an hour of physical activity can deliver. Leontien’s experience prompted her to set up the Leontien Ladies Ride and the Leontien Ladies Run, which attracts thousands of women every year. A great incentive to get more involved in sport in the future. As an extra incentive, participants also have the chance to make a one-off donation to the Leontienhuis when they register.

INCREDIBLY PROUD
The Leontienhuis opened its doors in mid-2015, and the results of working flat out for a year are now there for all to see. Leontien: “You can see that our first visitors are almost completely healthy now. That’s why we do it! What’s also really nice is that visitors are raising funds themselves because they are so grateful for the help they have found at the Leontienhuis. One girl climbed the Alpe d’Huez with her parents, raising €4,000 in the process. Another girl raised €1,000 by collecting sponsors for the Leontien Ladies Run. The money they raise is lovely, of course, but the most important thing is that they have the strength and energy to climb a mountain or run miles with a healthy mind and a healthy body. When I see that, it makes me proud, so incredibly proud.”
  MORE WALKING PLEASURE
Wolky has been sponsoring the Leontienhuis ever since it was set up. In return, founder Leontien Zijlaard-van Moorsel is the ambassador for Wolky’s e-walk®, the e-bike of comfortable walking shoes. The Roll@Way system in the lightweight sole gets your foot rolling off the ground almost automatically, so you can keep on going for longer and walk faster with much less effort. Less chance of injury, more walking pleasure! That’s exactly what Leontien wants for every woman. “All Wolky shoes are shoes after my own heart because they fit like a glove, they are good for your feet and they look really good too. The e-walk® is extra special for me because it makes walking faster and easier. You could almost run a marathon in them!” Read more about the e-walk® here.

More information: leontienhuis.nl

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WOLKY CARES: LEONTIENHUIS
(Interview Autumn/Winter 2016)

“PEOPLE WITH AN EATING DISORDER FEEL UNDERSTOOD AT THE LEONTIENHUIS”
Since the opening of the Leontienhuis, a drop-in centre for young people with eating disorders and their families, between 60 and 80 people a week have been coming to the workshops, the creative studio, the group sessions, and the inspiration meetings held there. “It’s really great to see our first visitors playing an active part in society again. 

“We are beginning to see the first results now, and they make us so proud,” says Leontien Zijlaard-van Moorsel, who founded the Leontienhuis a year ago. Former racing cyclist Leontien Zijlaard-van Moorsel knows better than most what it means to have an eating disorder and wanted to help other people in the same situation and their families by offering them a second home. A safe, friendly place where they are free to talk about their eating disorders, but also one where they can discover hidden talents and potential so that they can gradually get their illness under control.

“Since we opened, between 60 and 80 people a week have been coming here,” Leontien tells us. “Our aim is to give young people and their parents a positive boost: you CAN get better. Many of the people who come to us have spent time in institutions. The atmosphere there is clinical. At the Leontienhuis, people feel at ease because it’s a farmhouse that feels like a home. We tailor our support to each visitor individually, and our volunteers are experienced experts. So people with an eating disorder feel understood here.”

FASHIONABLE LOOKS
The Leontienhuis has already helped around 800 families, working not just with the people who have an eating disorder but also with their parents, brothers and sisters. Leontien combines her work at the house with external fundraising activities. She feels it is important to have a team of professionals working at the Leontienhuis, and of course they need to pay them. She gets support from private individuals, companies and charities, such as Vereniging Het Verschil, an organisation that raises money for good causes, and the Bart de Graaff Foundation, which supports young entrepreneurs.
 
Leontien-Foundation_Het leontienhuis staat voor een tweede thuis
Leontien also acts as the ambassador for special Wolky shoes which she helps to design, with part of the sales price going to the Leontienhuis. Leontien: “This time we chose a taupe boot in the RAW line. It’s a lovely, trendy boot that is every bit as comfortable as the various sneakers I have put my name to in the past – and I love that, because you often have to wear boots in before they are really comfortable. I’m proud that this boot bears the name ‘Wolky by Leontien’.”

More information: leontienhuis.nl

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RAW 3676 Colville by Leontien

 

WOLKY CARES: LEONTIEN FOUNDATION
(Interview Spring/Summer 2016)

‘SHOES YOU WANT TO BE SEEN IN’
Former racing cyclist Leontien Zijlaard-van Moorsel knows better than most what it means to have an eating disorder. That’s why she founded the Leontienhuis last year, a drop-in centre for young people with eating disorders and their families. So far the house has helped more than seventy families.

“I run the Thursday evening group at the Leontienhuis,” Leontien Zijlaard-van Moorsel explains. “It’s my very own group. They are all girls aged between 14 and 18. Typical teenagers! And when you combine that with an eating disorder, you get some pretty explosive behaviour. I say ‘white’, they say ‘black’ – that kind of thing. But because I do a lot of work with young people with eating disorders, I can handle that. I can tell the difference between adolescent behaviour combined with an eating disorder and what someone genuinely thinks or feels.”
Leontien struggled with an eating disorder herself while she was a professional racing cyclist, and wants to offer young people in the same situation and their families a second home at the Leontienhuis. It’s a safe place where young people are free to talk about their eating disorders, but also one where they can discover hidden talents and potential so that they can gradually get their illness under control. As Leontien says: “Clinics do a fantastic job, but they are geared towards the medical side. We approach things from a different angle.”

DELIGHTFUL GIRLS
The Leontienhuis has forty experienced volunteers and various professionals working actively to encourage the young people to rediscover their self-confidence and not to fall back on their eating disorder when they feel insecure, afraid or lonely. Leontien: “Almost all the girls in my Thursday evening group are fantastic young women who expect far too much from themselves. They are extremely driven and everything has to be even more perfect than it already is. I try to get them to understand that there is no such thing as perfection.”
The Thursday evening group is not only about talking. There are also activities like crafts and painting. “It’s much easier to talk when you’re busy,” Leontien explains. The activities also help reveal what the young people who come to the Leontienhuis really enjoy. That is a key part of getting an eating disorder under control, Leontien believes: “If you focus on getting these young people to pursue their passions, they gain self-confidence and the eating disorder can fade into the background.”

FASHIONABLE LOOKS
The Leontienhuis is currently helping around seventy families, working not just with the young people themselves but also their parents, brothers and sisters. Leontien combines her work at the house with external fundraising activities. It is important to have a team of professionals working at the Leontienhuis, she believes, but of course they have to be paid. So she is looking to sign up 100 companies as friends of the Leontienhuis, and she also designs a new pair of shoes for Wolky every season.
 
The Leontienhuis is currently helping around seventy families.
“A percentage of the purchase price of the shoes goes to the Leontienhuis,” she explains. Leontien is also an ambassador for the e-walk: a shoe that combines the fashionable look of a sneaker with unparalleled walking comfort. Leontien: “I love getting exercise, so it’s important to me to have comfortable shoes. What I love about Wolky shoes is that they’re both wonderful to walk in and very hip. They’re shoes you want to be seen in.”

More information: leontienhuis.nl

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WOLKY CARES: LEONTIEN FOUNDATION
(Interview Autumn/Winter 2015)

THE LEONTIENHUIS IS A HOME FROM HOME
A dream come true - that’s how former racing cyclist Leontien Zijlaard-van Moorsel describes the opening of the Leontienhuis, a drop-in centre for young people with eating disorders and their families. Its mission: fighting eating disorders together, on the way to a healthy future!

‘There’s no such thing as coincidence: on 5 July, the day we opened, the Tour de France passed right by the Leontienhuis,’ multiple Olympic and world champion Leontien van Moorsel tells us. It had to be destiny, she thinks: ‘I was cycling in the Tour during a very negative period in my life: I had an eating disorder which almost finished me. The day the Tour passed by the Leontienhuis, I was opening something very wonderful that enables me to help other people with an eating disorder. I am closing a bad chapter in my own life by doing something positive for other people struggling with an eating disorder.’
The opening of the Leontienhuis is a dream come true, she says. ‘We coach young people with eating disorders to rebalance their lives. We help them discover new qualities in themselves, we do fun things together, but we also start the conversation and offer a listening ear.’

UNDISCOVERED TALENTS
At the Leontienhuis there are forty volunteers with hands-on experience working as buddies: they encourage the young people to start playing a part in society again and not to fall back on their eating disorder when they feel insecure, afraid or lonely. ‘The volunteers have all been through this themselves,’ Leontien explains. ‘They work with our young people to try to identify what their underlying problems are and how they can help them: what are they having trouble with, is it the pressure from society, for example; how can we support them, and would they like us to go with them to a particular appointment?’
She describes the Leontienhuis as a home from home. A safe place where young people are free to talk about their eating disorders, but also a place where they can look for undiscovered talents and opportunities so that their eating disorder will ultimately fade slowly into the background. ‘We specifically chose a location off the beaten track, a lovely farmhouse where we have set up all kinds of spaces for art, painting and beauty activities,’ Leontien explains. ‘The clinics do a fantastic job, but they are very much geared towards the medical side. Here at the Leontienhuis we focus on other things.’

WIN-WIN SITUATION
The Leontienhuis is a drop-in centre where everyone gets help completely free of charge. Leontien: ‘But of course it’s great if parents can do something in return. It doesn’t have to be in the form of money; they could do some cleaning or help in the garden. We appreciate getting something active back in exchange for the help we are giving these young people.’ But financial contributions in the form of donations are also very welcome.
 
Leontien-Foundation_Het leontienhuis staat voor een tweede thuis Leontien works tirelessly all year round findingsponsors and organising fund-raising cycling tours, as without outside income there is no future for the centre.
Wolky also does its bit by selling a range of shoes designed by Leontien, a percentage of the purchase price of which goes to the Leontienhuis. Leontien has already designed the Flow and the Biker, and this year she has added the Gear. ‘It is a lovely model,’ Leontien says. Nice and sporty, feminine and shiny - just like Leontien herself. ‘The model provides lots of support and is as comfortable as a slipper - and that’s fine by me. I’m always on the go so I don’t want to have to run around in uncomfortable shoes. Working with Wolky is a win-win situation that benefits everyone.’

More information: leontienhuis.nl

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WOLKY CARES: LEONTIEN FOUNDATION

RUN FOR YOUR LIFE
Former racing cyclist Leontien Zijlaard-van Moorsel is determined to get more Dutch women exer­cising. And she’s doing it with her Ladies Run and Ladies Ride, plus a sporty shoe that she developed in collaboration with Wolky: the Biker, a comfortable, robust sneaker in which you can cycle and walk to your heart’s content.

“I stopped bicycle racing a good 10 years ago. More or less
straight after that, we started encouraging people to exercise by putting on a series of sports events designed mainly for women. We aim to get women exercising, but at a low entry level and in a social setting. We want every woman to surprise herself: ‘Did I really do that?’
“We started with the Leontien Ladies Ride, a 35 or 65 kilometre
(22 or 40 mile) ride which is being held for the tenth time this year. To get even more women active, two years ago we added the Leontien Ladies Run, a 5 or 10 kilometre (3 or 6 mile) run. I think it’s amazing that women who don’t usually get much exercise go on to complete the whole 65 kilometres (40 miles). I’m really proud of them. “The Ladies Run is another story, because there will always be a bit of a competitive edge to that.
It is also aimed a little higher: it’s easier to cycle 30 kilometres
(19 miles) than to run 10 (6). But both the Run and the Ride are mainly about the fun of exercising and motivating people to do more. On average, between four and six thousand women take part in the Ride and the Run. That’s a fantastic number, but there’s always room for more!”

A QUESTION OF PLANNING
“The excuse many women give for not exercising is that they have no time. But there are 24 hours in a day, so it’s all a question of planning. If you’re very busy during the day, you could always set your alarm one hour earlier in the morning. But maybe it’s easy for me to talk – after all, I still have some of the discipline left over from my sports career. I want to be active because I know that it gives me a lot of positive energy that I can channel into being a good mother or a good employer.
“Another reason why a lot of women don’t do sports is the gear.
I understand entirely that if you’re a mother of three who wants to start getting regular exercise, you’ll flinch at an outfit that costs €300 (£240). So you start running or cycling in your husband’s tracksuit, which doesn’t fit properly, and you give up again. We’re responding to that with a line of good quality sportswear that is affordable for just about everyone. I have also designed a shoe in collaboration with Wolky that fits in perfectly with this range: the Biker, a trendy white sneaker with a three-tone sole. It gives the foot plenty of support and is wonder­fully comfortable. I used
 
Leontien-Foundation_RunForYourLife to wear heels a lot, but I’ve worn them much less since I became a mum. And at sports events I have always worn sporty sneakers anyway. The Biker is the perfect shoe because it looks great and it’s ideal for cycling or walking.”

HELPING OTHERS
“Part of the proceeds from the Leontien Ladies Ride and the Leontien Ladies Run go to the Leontienhuis (Leontien House), my drop-in centre for people with eating disorders. It isn’t a treatment centre, it’s an enhancement of the fantastic help that is already available. Our aim is to help people with an eating disorder get back on track to a healthy, positive future by offering them a sympathetic ear, discovering what their talents are, and where their interests lie.
“I got the idea for the Leontienhuis when I heard that the number of people with anorexia was rising every year. I was shocked, and I was determined to do something about it. I had anorexia myself for years and it’s something I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. When I look back over my career, I would do it all again – except the time when I had my eating disorder. When you have anorexia you think that’s the only thing you’re good at. It takes control of your entire life. It is really difficult and lonely.
“I want to do something to help combat this growing problem. The help we offer at the Leontienhuis is free, so I try and raise as much money as possible with cycling tours, spinning clinics, store openings, the Ladies Ride and the Ladies Run, and many other projects besides. So all the women who register for the Ladies Run and the Ladies Ride are not just doing it for themselves. They’re also helping others.”

More information: leontienfoundation.nl

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HOW ABOUT YOU?
You can find more information at leontienladiesride.nl and leontienladiesrun.nl, including dates, registration forms and extras such as bike rentals or an upgrade to a luxury package.


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WOLKY CARES: LEONTIEN FOUNDATION

BUY SHOES,
HELP OTHERS
Former racing cyclist Leontien Zijlaard-van Moorsel and Wolky are pooling their skills in a very special team effort: designing a limited edition version of the Flow. A sporty, cool yet comfortable shoe that’s now doing its bit for society too.

“The way I felt when I had anorexia is something I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy,” says Leontien Zijlaard-van Moorsel. As a professional racing cyclist she won almost everything there was to win and is regarded as one of the most successful Dutch sports stars of all time. But her greatest victory was not at the Olympics or in the Tour de France. It was conquering her eating disorder. Leontien: “When I look back over my career, I would do it all again – except the time when I had my eating disorder. When you have anorexia you think that’s the only thing you’re good at. It takes control of your entire life. It’s really difficult and lonely.” Leontien conquered the illness after ­battling for many years. “That feeling that you are in balance again – you just can’t compare it with anything. I know now that you can come of it stronger, and I want to show people that.” Leontien has been raising money for eating disorder-related projects through the Leontien Foundation for many years, and later this year the Leontienhuis (Leontien House) will be opening its doors. “It isn’t a treatment centre,” Leontien explains, “but an addition to the fantastic help that is already available. Our aim is to help people with an eating disorder on their way to a healthy, positive future. By offering a sympathetic ear, discovering what their qualities are, where their interests lie.”
The help available at the Leontienhuis will be completely free, because Leontien doesn’t want to exclude anybody. “I just couldn’t find it in my heart to do that,” she says. To make this all
 
Leontien-Foundation happen, she is trying to raise as much money as possible through fundraising, donations and even designing her own shoe: a limited edition version of the Flow. “I’m a total fashion freak,” says Leontien, “and this shoe looks so cool. Plus it’s also incredibly comfortable.” The toe of Leontien’s Flow turns upwards, making the foot roll off more easily. The wedge heel lends a feminine touch, and the PU sole makes the shoe ultra-light. “It is a shoe, but it feels like a slipper on your feet,” says Leontien. And best of all, some of the profits from every Flow sold go to the Leontien Foundation. So – buy the Flow by Leontien Zijlaard-van Moorsel now and help others!

More information: leontienfoundation.nl

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