Cycling around the world for blood

 
Partnering with the Rotary Club of Clermont-Ferrand, Rotary District 1740, France, former Rotaractor Julien Leblay is touring worldwide on his bicycle to promote voluntary blood donation. Now, at age  30, the Frenchman is aiming - along with his wife, Marion Dumas Cheilletz - to cover 27,000 kilometers by cycle from France to New Zealand.
 

Julien Leblay's interest in promoting voluntary blood donation was prompted by a near fatal accident as a teenager. Young Julien was overwhelmed with gratitude when he got 20 units of blood at the hospital during two days following his accident.

 

Since 2004, when he and a friend founded the organization Voyageurs au Grand Coeur (The Great Heart Travellers), he has bicycled on three continents - Europe, South America and Oceania - often visiting and talking to, among others, Rotary clubs along the way about blood donation.  Their current tour started in July 2010.

 

The Indian newspaper The Hindu met Julien and Marion, a physiotherapist,  in early February 2011. Their visit to this country is coordinated by PDG P. T. Prabhakar of Rotary District 3230, Chennai. P. T. Prabhakar is currently President of Global Network for Blood Donation, A Rotarian Action Group (GNBD).

 

According to The Hindu, the two Frenchmen are meeting people of Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Delhi and Hyderabad. In Chennai, they visited Fortis Malar Hospital and VHS Blood Bank of Rotary Club, supported by the Blood Committee of Rotary Club of Madras Central .

 

Julien Leblay  and Marion Dumas Cheilletz plan to reach Auckland, New Zealand, in September 2011 for the Rugby World Cup.

 

- There, we will have an extra 6000 kilometers ride before coming back to France in March 2012, Julien told The Hindu.

 

During their tour, Julien Leblay and Marion Marion Dumas Cheilletz offer lectures on the importance of donating blood.  When back in France, they plan to publish two books and make a movie. 

 

They have a website with updated information of their experience http://voyage-grand-coeur.org.

For map and pictgures, please go to the journal Photos.

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The Great Heart Travellers is :
- an organisation created in January 2004 in order to promote blood donation by way of cycling around the world in separate stages,
- 29,000 kilometers already covered touring 25 countries and three continents (Europe, Oceania, South America),
- since the start of the organization, more than 200 interviews have been given on TV, radios, newspapers, magazines, etc.
- five books published, 5000 copies sold in France,
- lots of talks in France and abroad. In 2009, 100 talks were given all over France,
- the website http://voyage-grand-coeur.org is translated into English and is updated daily with thousands of pictures. 300 visitors at the website every day.

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