Ignited by Terry Fox
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When I reach Dr. Guy Sauvageau on the phone, I hear in the background the sound of leaves crumpling, I tell myself that he must be in the office and that he is rummaging through his documents. I’m wrong. “I’m with Pablo, my dog, we’re taking a walk on the Mestachibo trail (Saint-Ferréol-les-Neiges).” It’s the sound of leaves rustling under their feet that I hear.
Founding investigator of the Institute for Research in Immunology and Cancer (IRIC) of the Université de Montréal and a professor in the Faculty of Medicine at the Université de Montréal, Dr. Sauvageau has a busy schedule. “I’m not home very often; I often work late.” Although he is passionate about his work, he needs to move and get some fresh air. “Running (or biking) depending on the condition of my knees is a religion, and I’m faithful to it, I practice it every morning.”
“My father, who will soon be 90 years old, once told me that if I have managed to keep such a high work rate all my life, it is because I have kept in shape, and he himself is still doing brisk walking. For a long time I thought that was crazy, but now that I look back, I realize that he was right.”
This passion for running (and cycling) goes far back “When exactly, I don’t know, but definitely before I reached the age of 20.” On the other hand, he has a very clear memory of when he knew he was going to become a cancer researcher. “It was in 1980, I saw Terry Fox on television, I was very moved and I told myself that, later, I would find a cure for this disease.” For the record, let’s remember that our doctor has, in 2014, discovered, a molecule that can increase the success of treatment of blood cancers with stem cells. Nothing less.
“When I’m in the city, I run on the trails of Mount Royal, in the country it’s on the Mestachibo trail, always with Pablo. In both cases, the differences in elevation are significant, my heart rate is often very (too) high, I am close to 180, much too high for my age! I’d have to learn to slow down the pace.”
“I also realize how important running can be in the rehabilitation of a cancer patient. I think of one of my patients. With bone marrow cancer, diagnosed at a relatively young age, he went through chemotherapy, immunotherapy and two stem cell transplants. Running has been part of his recovery. Before this cancer, he was a strong marathon runner and still is. He sometimes invites me to follow him on these runs. I’m unable to keep up with him.”
Do I run with or without music? “Without”
What weather condition discourages me from running in the winter? ” -60 °C “
After a good workout or a competition, I indulge guilt-free with what food? “My breakfast”
Do I ever run on a treadmill? “No”
A runner who inspires me? “Usain Bolt”