Les Voyageurs au Grand Coeur

Hot* French cyclists want your blood.

I’m starting to see a pattern here. People are packing up their houses, waving au revoir to their friends and families, and setting off for a round the world cycling holiday endeavour. French couple Julien Leblay and Marion Dumas are biking the North and South Islands this summer (hope they’re liking our summer weather) as ‘Great Heart Travellers‘, encouraging New Zealanders to donate blood.

Paul Hayes from the NZ Blood Service says “Every week we need 3,000 units of donated blood, and this demand for blood and new donors is constant.” Julien’s quite keen on blood donation, having had his life saved by the timely introduction of 20 units of the stuff just when he rather needed it. That blood had a direct effect on the total number of bike riders on the planet (+ 1), so donating can only be a good thing.

Julien and Marion will cycle from Dunedin to Auckland, and started their final leg of their 20-month cycle journey on Thursday 5 January in Dunedin and arriving in Auckland on Friday 17 February.

They will be in Wellington on Tuesday January 31st  and the NZ Blood Service will be hosting them at the Wellington Blood Donor Centre in Hospital Rd Newtown that day. That seems like an ideal time to give blood. If the worst happens and you pass out (as I am liable to do), you may well come round to the sound of French voices. I can think of worse things.

*I don’t actually know for sure that they ARE hot, but they’re definitely French which is a good start and if nothing else they’ll have Rather Good Legs.

Here’s the official story:

Two French cyclists have travelled more than 18,000 kilometres around the world to encourage more New Zealanders to “get on their bike” and donate blood.

Global blood donation ambassadors Julien Leblay and Marion Dumas will begin their final leg of a 20-month cycle journey to promote blood donation in Dunedin on Thursday (5 January). They will then cycle the South and North Islands before concluding their 21,000 kilometre, half-world tour in Auckland in February.

Blood donation is a cause close to Julien’s heart, after his own life was saved by 20 units of blood following an accident in his teens. His fiancée and cycling partner, Marion is also a big supporter of blood donation, having given the gift of blood 30 times.

New Zealand Blood Service’s National Marketing and Communications Manager Paul Hayes says their personal experience and determination is a reminder of just how important blood donors are in saving lives the world-over, something he hopes will encourage more Kiwi cyclists to donate.

The duo,who travel with only what they can carry on their bikes, have already visited countries in Europe, Asia and Australia, including making a blood donation in Cambodia earlier this year.

Paul Hayes says their visit is also very timely, helping ensure Kiwis don’t forget to donate during the busy holiday period.

“While the holiday festivities pull our attention away from the day-to-day routine, the need for blood is constant. It is vital people still remember to donate blood on a regular basis and help us maintain our collection rates.”

Donated blood helps save around 42,000 lives in New Zealand every year and on average, the New Zealand Blood Service needs 3,000 units of blood donated per week to meet demand.

Currently, only around 4% of the eligible population (aged 16 to 60) are active blood donors.

Visit www.nzblood.co.nz or phone 0800 GIVE BLOOD to find out more about blood donation, register to become a blood donor or to make an appointment to donate.

Julien & Marion in Italy

One thought on “Les Voyageurs au Grand Coeur

  1. I’m all in favour of this. If you’re eligible, please donate blood when you can!

    That said, these two won’t be able to donate blood while they’re here. The NZ Blood Service page on donor eligibility states that:

    You must not have lived in the United Kingdom, France or the Republic of Ireland between 1980 and 1996 for a cumulative 6 months or more.

    That eliminates a lot of the adult population (myself included). But please, do check the NZ Blood Service’s eligibility page, and if you can donate, do so! http://www.nzblood.co.nz/Give-blood/Donating/Am-I-eligible


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