Cancer survivor takes on Dakar

2011-12-12 08:54

Ten years after his fight against cancer, Gilles Gard is continuing to fight in his own way as he attempts to conquer the journey from Mar del Plata to Lima.

Gilles Gard has experienced several mishaps in his life. As an endurance enthusiast, he had to give up biking after being diagnosed with cancer in 2001 and in 2005 he was struck by leukaemia.

Gilles said: “During the treatment, you have to spend several periods of one month in a sterile isolation room. I asked for an exercise bike, which allowed me to continue exercising, helped to pass the time and avoid brooding too much.

"These are advantages that help you pull through. In 2004 it was fairly ground-breaking, but now it's the type of support that is developing in most hospitals."

Since these two painful episodes, the time spent recovering was also an active one for Gard, who has campaigned and spoken out in support of motorsport against cancer.


Gard has since beaten the disease and is now in great shape but considers Dakar is both a challenge and an opportunity to strike home a resounding message about the illness.

He said: “I want to show that cancer can be beaten, that you need to fight, believe in yourself and that taking part in sport gives better chances of recovery. You can get back on top form and tackle a sporting event like the Dakar. At the same time, I'm hoping to equip certain oncology departments in France's Midi-Pyrenees region's hospitals with physiotherapy bikes.

"In total, there will be 12 bikes for a budget of €12 000 (R129 896)."