As we approach the date for “la Course du Coeur”, facing the formidable challenge of running as a team day and night from Paris to les Arcs, we can ask ourselves: why on earth are we doing this? As individuals, as a team and a company, our time and energy can be applied to so many things. After all, the world we live in is filled with needs to be addressed. I’ve mused over the years about the significance of these sporting events, sometimes accompanied by heroic efforts on the part of the organisers and the participants, and for what? Wouldn’t the money and effort and compassion be more wisely spent helping the needy more directly? And so can go the reflection, but year after year we see that la Course du Coeur and other similar events thrive.
I’m sure each of us has our own motivations, but here are some of mine: First, la Course du Coeur is special. It’s not money we’re after – it’s something far more precious and personal. Organs that save lives cannot be ethically acquired with money. They can only be acquired by a very profound sacrifice of a close friend or family member, or in many cases as a gift from an accidental death. With such scarcity, we are faced with a fact: if money will not make the difference, what remains is to do our best to make sure that the possible donors are well informed and willing to give something so precious to others.
Second, while we could do so many things to help, so often we don’t. Time, money and motivation need to be channeled, marshalled and inspired. If not, we live in the world of good intentions. There’s nothing like signing up for a serious sporting event to get us out of bed to train, knowing that we’re committed to train or to suffer. So we’ve signed up, and we’ve committed to train and, no doubt, to suffer.
Strangely enough, the suffering is part of the motivation. When we think of friends who have benefited from organ donations or have shown the courage to give an organ, we recognise that suffering is involved, but others’ suffering can be so impersonal. Here, as athletes and participants, we have an opportunity to grow in compassion. The struggles and perseverance of a long distance race do a great job of mirroring the pain and perseverance of working with a life-threatening illness. While those in need of organs benefit little from our pain as we run on and on for days, they certainly can benefit from our deepened compassion and understanding of the challenges they face.
Then there’s the sense of accomplishment, the feeling of doing something that matters. Winning the race doesn’t really matter, but working together, demonstrating solidarity, following through on our commitments does. I suppose that brings us to why the event isn’t just a 10K run. After all, we are talking about awareness for organ donation, not awareness about washing our hand for good hygiene. We need something dramatic, difficult, maybe a little bit crazy to make some noise, to draw attention, to get the world around us to ask – What’s the big deal?
I have friends and co-workers who are alive today thanks to organ donations. If for no other reason, maybe it’s a way of showing them that I’m glad they are still here, and I’d do this in a minute to keep them around. It’s something personal for Scality. It’s a chance to build involvement with and commitment to each other and add some heart to our jobs.