Cancer Survivor Gilles Gard to 2012 Dakar

2012 Dakar Rally

Back in 2001, the Frenchman Gilles Gard began a bout with cancer, forcing him to give up on his passion in life – endurance motorcycle racing.

But he kept on exercising, and progressed in health. But four years following his cancer diagnoses, the 35-year old Gard was struck with another illness – leukemia. He kept to his exercise regime, with much emphasis on sport to assist in healing.

Gilles Gard says: "During the (leukemia) 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."

Gard began holding campaigns and speaking about how sports can help battle these diseases such as cancer and leukemia. During this time, he met Dakar rider David Fretigne, and discussions began about participating in the 2012 Dakar to help Gard’s cause.

Gard’s Yamaha 450 WRF is now headed to Dakar, and his race efforts will help solidify his message that sport can help battle these horrible diseases such as cancer and leukemia).

And his message has much merit –  Gard says his sporting efforts were the main reason he beat cancer. And now the man from Aveyron who is in "impeccable shape" will head to Argentina to take on the 2012 Dakar Rally.

Gilles Gard says: "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 the Midi-Pyrenees region’s hospitals with physiotherapy bikes. In total, there will be 12 bikes for a budget of € 12,000 ($16,000), including 6 for the Toulouse Cancer Centre."

The Dakar Rally runs from Jan. 1 through the 15, beginning in Mar del Plata, Argentina, and ending in Lima, Peru.