At 67, a liver transplant recipient from Eure-et-Loir takes part in the Heart Race in favor of organ donation

At 67, a liver transplant recipient from Eure-et-Loir takes part in the Heart Race in favor of organ donation

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For more than thirty-six years, she has been making them run for life! The Race of the Heart is a unique 800 km relay between Paris and Bourg-Saint-Maurice – Les Arcs (Savoie). Fifteen teams will set off on Wednesday March 20, 2024. More than 200 runners, employees of large companies, institutions or healthcare workers, will work together for four days to support organ and tissue donation.

Twelve transplant recipients, eight men and four women, of all ages, kidney, liver or bone marrow transplants, from all over France, make up the Trans-forme team. Antoine Gouache, 67 years old, lives in Luisant (Eure-et-Loir). Eighteen years ago, this sports enthusiast donated part of his liver to save his daughter, Marie. Its hemangio-endothelioma-epithelioid type cancer is very rare. “There was no possibility of chemotherapy. The tumors covered his liver. There were too many for it to be operable. We therefore chose the transplant, but the waiting time was fifteen months. The doctors gave him three months to live,” says the father.

Without hesitation, the former technician and salesman in the cereal sector offered his liver to his daughter. ” I did not think. It was the only solution and I was lucky to be compatible. I was 47, she was 23, she had no right to leave without taking advantage of it,” remembers the athlete. Accustomed to the effort, and already a finisher of 4 marathons, the man admits to having suffered during convalescence. ” It’s very hard. I see myself three days after the operation, 2 of my brothers were at my bedside, and I thought it was the end. Nothing was back in place. Liver regeneration is like explosions inside the body,” says the retiree.

Fifteen after his donation, he too needs a liver transplant

Despite a forty-centimeter scar on his stomach, Antoine Gouache will quickly get back in the saddle. Six weeks after the operation, he returned to his job at Axéréal. Four and a half months later, he ran the Médoc marathon. But fifteen years later, fate persists. It’s his daughter who accompanies her father’s trolley to the operating room. In 2017, a tumor in the athlete’s pancreas was detected. His liver is completely metastasized. He also needs a transplant. It was a deceased donor who saved his life. “It reinforced my conviction that everyone must talk about organ donation,” notes Luisantais.

As if to prove that he is stronger than the disease, Antoine will compete in his 44th marathon six months after leaving the hospital. Since then he has completed 50 and is preparing to take part in the Race of the Heart. His goal is to tell his experience. “It’s important to bear witness, and it will be a great experience to be in contact with other transplant recipients,” believes the 67-year-old runner. Like him, 11 other transplant recipients, ambassadors of organ donation, will meet the public: 5,634 organ transplants were carried out in 2023 in France and 21,866 patients are registered on the national waiting list as of January 1 2024. Among them, 823 died due to lack of a transplant.

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