Running for someone: who does it benefit?
Not too long ago, I was diagnosed with leukaemia. That diagnosis came with a package : 9 months of treatment, a bone marrow transplant, and over 4 months sleeping in hospital.
Back then, I was your usual athletic developper (yes, there is a lot of us) : I exercised pretty much every day, only missing out on training when I had too much code to deliver for the next day. I had ran a 100km race, I was comfortable with intense cardio and crossfit sessions, I loved swimming in freezing cold San Francisco Bay…
… and I was bound to losing the vast majority of my muscle mass in the coming weeks due to treatments.
After one month of chemo, Sophie, a volunteer for an NGO fighting leukaemia came to visit me in hospital. She said she was a runner, and she offered to run for me. At that point, I was quite confused : what benefit was in there for me ? It didn't make me exercise, it didn't allow me to cross finish lines… It felt like a scam feel-good operation. However, the medical staff encouraged me to sign up, and so Sophie started running for me.
Sophie ran the Paris Marathon with a Tshirt displaying my name. She posted it on facebook. She sent me her medal and a letter of encouragement. Other people who'd been sick joined in for the letters. Suddenly, strangers were displaying support. Not pity, support. The letters weren't « I'm so sorry you're sick ». They were « I hope you run with us when you're better ». I was treated as a human being, not a walking cancer.
And there was something else : when you're sick, you can become somewhat invisible. Or at least feel you are. You don't go to work anymore (though, in the case of Scality, work comes to you if you want it to, but that's for another blog post), you are costly for society, you cannot attend social events… And treatments make you become a shadow of yourself.
And then there is someone out there who is proudly displaying your name, saying you're worthy, telling your story… and slightly alleviating the weight of your illness with every step they take.
So running for someone : who does it benefit ? Surely, that someone. It makes them feel bigger than they are, it makes them feel like their burden is lighter, it makes them realize people will not always look away from them, and it makes them feel loved.
Today, I am proud to run for everyone who's had any sort of organ transplant. I hope it gives them hope that they can run too, some time soon. I hope it allows them to realize people around the world care for them. I hope it makes them feel like people, not illnesses.
Thank you for supporting Scality's participation in the Course du Coeur 2016 !