In this blog, we follow the journey of our colleague Henk van Laar, to reach the summit of the Mont Ventoux in June 2022. Henk will be joining the Give&Live cycling club, which is a group of cyclists that are either organ- or stem cell recipient, donor, or working in the field of transplantation. GenDx sponsors the event, and Henk is the lucky GenDx representative to support the Give&Live cycling club on their way to the top of the mountain. 

June 22, 2022

After an overnight bus trip that took about 17.5 hours, we have reached our destination: Montbrun-les-Bains, France. Just in time for dinner!

June 23, 2022

After a very extensive, cyclist-proof breakfast, we are updated on the planning for the day.

Many group pictures are taken: a group of participants who have received a transplant, those who have donated an organ, those who are cycling in memory of a loved one who did receive a transplant but passed away eventually, and a group of medical buddy’s. Finally, we took a picture with all participants, and the GenDx flag.

The rock formations  around us look impressive, a little intimidating even. Especially for those who never biked up a mountain like the Mont Ventoux before. So, today is not only a warming up for the body, but also to prepare the mind.

There are four different routes set out for today, so there is something for everyone. Once all water bottles are filled and the tires inflated, it is time to hit the road! Unfortunately, dark clouds were approaching from the West, which resulted in a cold rain shower. I decided to join the 95 km group and luckily the weather quickly got better. All in all, we will have about 1000 altimeters today. For some, this is a bit too intense, and the group falls apart. In particular for the last part back to the accommodation, a 15% incline, many decide to get off their bike to walk instead. Understandable. After all, we need to save all the energy we need for the pinnacle of this week: a non-stop climb of 1400 meter to the summit of the Mont Ventoux.

Upon our return to the ‘base camp’, we can replenish our energy and make sure to get some extra hydration in. For the cyclists, there’s the option to get a massage to loosen up their muscles. In the meantime, the bike repairman fixes up about 12 bikes, so that they are good to go for the next day.

In the evening, we can enjoy an amazing, extensive, healthy dinner. The catering team is really making sure that we have everything we need (and more). At the dinner table, many stories are shared. Not only about the past day, but also about everyone’s personal motivation to join this journey, and their experiences with transplantation. In these conversations, I recognize that many emphasize the importance of medical care and support. Not only during an event like this one, but basically every day. We also realize that advancement of medical techniques and tools, like the ones GenDx develops, are part of the reason that we are here today, and tomorrow.