“Together, Running for Change”
April 14, 2019 will mark the third year of HEC’s annual Uni’Run and its organizers, Félicia Inostroza and Théophile Merienne, hope to build upon the success of the preceding events. We had the opportunity to interview them and determine why this event is important to them and their peers.
Their ambition is to make this year’s run the biggest of its kind. Uni’Run 2019 will also be the first to raise money for not only infantile cancer but also lysosomal diseases. The latter being a group of approximately 50 rare metabolic disorders that result from lysosomal dysfunction, usually as a consequence of enzyme deficiency. Lysosomal storage diseases (LSDs) affect mostly children and they often die at a young age, many within a few months or years of birth. The organizers’ motivation is palpable and the event’s purpose is unambiguous: “This is more than simply ‘a run’, it’s an opportunity for us to do something greater than the sum of our parts, in an atmosphere of festivity and community, with the objective being to help those children who are suffering from cancer or lysosomal diseases”, said Inostroza.
Why have you chosen the slogan: “Together, Running for Change” and what motivated you to organize this event?
“Together, because it’s an event of unity and community. The idea is to reunite all members of the HEC community, be they students or staff, and even people from the wider community. Why Running for Change? It’s not a test of fitness or running ability, it is simply a platform to raise awareness for infantile cancer and lysosomal diseases, problems that we do not address often enough. We hope that by running together, we are making a change, however small”. Merienne corroborated: “In summary, the event has two concrete objectives: firstly, to reunite the entire HEC community for one day, in one place and secondly, to strengthen and provide continued support to the fight against these pervasive and harmful diseases.”
Why have you chosen to focus on supporting research into infantile cancer and lysosomal diseases?
“That’s a difficult question because there are many other important issues we would like to address. The event’s origin predates our time as HEC students, having started the year before we arrived. Therefore, we merely picked up the gauntlet thrown down by our predecessors and continued as they did with infantile cancer as the focus of our efforts. In one way or another, this is a subject, which unfortunately has touched everyone today,” said Inostroza. According to a 2018 report by Hannah Ritchie, 1 in 6 people in the world dies of cancer. “This year we decided to add lysosomal diseases, rare genetic conditions which are lacking in research and which often cut short the lives of those who suffer from them”. “We speak a lot about cancer today and read about the growing numbers of adult sufferers but we sometimes overlook the myriad number of children who suffer from cancer, it being one of the leading contributors to infant mortality. The American Cancer Society stating in 2018 that cancer is the second leading cause of death in children aged 1 to 14,” said Merienne.
How many people do you expect will participate? Moreover, what would you say to encourage someone who is unaware of the event or reluctant to get involved?
“We hope for a turnout of around 500 or 600 people and would especially like to see more members of staff getting involved, local families or even business owners in Jouy-en-Josas. The first thing I would say to someone who is apprehensive about getting involved is; don’t be afraid if you think you aren’t a good runner or are worried about being unable to complete the course, it’s not important. What is important is that you are there, making a change, even if you decide to walk. It will give you an opportunity to explore this beautiful campus and see it in a new light. In addition, when the run ends, the fun starts, with food, locally brewed beers, games, a bouncy castle and other group activities”. “For those who do not wish to or are unable to participate, but would like to support our efforts, we would really appreciate if they could make a donation on our website,” urged Inostroza.