MassGeneral Hospital for Children News

Antoine Tanne explains why he is running for the MassGeneral Marathon Team Fighting Kids’ Cancer . . . One Step at a Time.

Q&A with marathon runner Antoine Tanne

23/Mar/2012

Runner Antoine Tanne with patient partner Michael

Runner Antoine Tanne with patient partner Michael

Q: What is your name?

My name is Antoine Tanne.

Q: Where are you from?

I am French and I come from a little city in Normandy really close to D-Day beach.

Q: What is your role at Massachusetts General Hospital?

I am a researcher in the Mass General pediatrics department. My research work aims at better understanding innate immunity in infectious diseases and more precisely upon viral and bacterial co-infection.

Q: Why did you choose to run the marathon for MassGeneral Hospital for Children?

In 2010, I was standing by the finish line of the Boston Marathon for the first time. After having seen so many charity runners, I went back home and I read more about the Mass General charity run program created by Dr. Howard Weinstein. After this, there was no doubt that I had to run the Boston Marathon as a member of this team. Running against cancer is for me a way to support my relatives (my aunt and my godfather) and all people who fight against those diseases. Running for children is also a way for me to remember my best friend’s brother, who unfortunately died almost 10 years ago.

Finally, I have the chance to participate in the patient/runner program. Being paired with Michael is a unique experience, which gives me the chance to really feel my contribution to the fight against cancer. Working as a researcher, at the bench, does not allow me to easily feel our contribution to making people’s lives better. Spending time with Michael and his family gives me this feeling of being useful and being a part of the curing process.

Q: What kind of experience do you have as a runner?

I have been running for a long time and I trained with the Boston Community Running Club since 2010. Running is for me a real passion and it is a way to get rid of bad feelings.

Q: What inspires you as a runner?

Life is like a long run: some parts are hard, some are easy but at the end it is always great and I am always feeling good.

Q: What has been your most memorable moment preparing for the marathon?

I had lots of good moments during this preparation. The really good one was when I did my first run over 20 miles on the marathon race, when I was passing the Heart Break Hill. I was trying to imagine me in the middle of the crowd and being cheered by all the Mass General patients and jumping into Michael’s arms. I am really looking forward to the marathon day.

Q: What have you learned about your patient partner and what makes him special?

Mike and his family are for me a big source of inspiration and motivation. My training and my marathon are nothing compared to what they had to face and they manage to get through. Mike is really a strong guy; he is facing his disease with so much courage, maturity and motivation that every time I meet him, it is like having a lesson of life. My problems become nothing and my motivation for the marathon day is 10 times bigger. I am one of the lucky people who never had to face any disease; spending time with Mike and his family at the hospital makes me realize how lucky I am!

Q: What are you most looking forward to about marathon day?

I am looking forward to the moment I will shake hands with Mike and we will both say we made it! I will have done my race and he will have finished his treatment!

Q: Is there anything else you'd like to add?

Dr. Weinstein and all the team who work to make this charity project are really awesome and I truly thank them for letting me be part of their project.

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Marathon team

The Mass General Marathon Team has raised more than $6 million in support of the MassGeneral Hospital for Children Cancer Center.

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Family-centered care

We respect that the family is the center of a child’s life and we welcome families to participate in every aspect of their child’s care.