My really bad happened earlier this year. After an amazing fight, my younger brother lost his battle with cancer. It was a devastating time for my family and, at that moment, I would have never guessed that something positive might ever stem from it.
But then, at the end of March, I went to France to participate in “La Course du Coeur” – roughly
translated as “The Race for the Heart,” It’s a 750-kilometer biking-and-relay event that takes teams of participants from Paris to French Alps to help raise awareness of the importance of organ donation.
I was on the Cloud Running team, one of 14 in the event. Our team was made up of people representing VMware business partners, Cisco and Accenture, as well as other public sector
customers. In business, we work hard as teams to develop and provide the advanced tools that transform IT environments for our customers. On the course, that spirit of partnership was still there.
Together, we traveled the French countryside, pushing our physical limits on foot and on bicycle and supporting each other along the way, both on and off the course. It was a powerful feeling to realize that I worked for a company that so strongly supports giving back that I was actually able to be doing this.
The people experiencing the adventure by my side weren’t business partners on that course. They were teammates, working together for a common cause. Likewise, each of our companies offered us the support we needed to do this. Through the VMWare Foundation, employees are granted five paid days to volunteer in a way that gives something back. It was inspiring for me to see what my colleagues had been doing to give back to their communities.
I believe in organ donation and am happy to support it. CNN reports that, on average, 18 people in the United States die each day waiting for an organ transplant. I’m proud to support organ donation efforts and I applaud Facebook for recently launching a campaign that encourages its nearly 1 billion members to identify themselves as potential organ donors on their Facebook pages.
I’ve seen the impact first hand through the amazing people that I met during my adventure in France. Some of participants on the route were more than just supporters of organ donation.
They were organ recipients – livers, hearts, kidneys and more – and here they were going through some of the same physical endurances that I was going through.
And that’s when I realized how truly powerful this event was for me. Here I was among people – some who, like my own brother, had once faced potentially life-ending health problems – and they were running and cycling as if… well, as if they’d just received a new heart or other vital organ.
What they actually received was a second chance at life. Through the caring donation of someone who agreed to donate his organs when he died, these people had a second chance at life.
The funny thing was that, even though my physical health had never been in danger, the spark of life that filled these people was enough to give me a metaphoric second chance at life, too. I had come to participate in this event to help support our partnership with Cisco, Accenture and our public sector community. And while I was able to do that, I also picked up a little French saying to explain what I had gained from participating in this event.
The French call it La Joie de Vivre. Roughly translated, it means: Zest for Life.