French and European stallions suppliers even more present to support Gaëtan Decroix and his charity project Horse & Hope 2021!

12 February 2021

Press Release 

Gaëtan Decroix, Belgian rider and breeder based in Normandy, is renewing his charity operation with the Ekestrian auction platform to support the fight against cancer through his Horse & Hope project.

More than 1,000 coverings and straws, graciously donated by stallions suppliers, will be presented on February, 16th and 17th on www.ekestrian.com (https://bit.ly/2NkvgvP), with part of the benefits going to the "Les Amis de Bordet" foundation (https://www.amis-bordet.be/fr/amis-institut-bordet-accueil.html), which paricipates to the Jules Bordet Cancer Care and Research Institute.

In 2020, thanks to the generosity of the stallions suppliers and bidders, the auction raised nearly 34,000 euros for the fight against cancer.

Gaëtan Decroix and his charity project are presented through a very personal interview with a big-hearted rider. He speaks about the disease, the creation of Horse & Hope, the support of his family and friends, his message to people affected by cancer and much more:

Gaëtan Decroix, you created the charity Horse & Hope in 2019 to support the fight against cancer. How did you come up with the idea of a appeal for donations in the format of an online charity auction?

"I had two cancers, one in 2015 and one in 2019. I was then offered to enter an experimental programme, with a very heavy treatment that required me to be in isolation in a sterile room for several weeks, with no guarantee of results superior to those of known treatments. My heart wanted to help science, but I had other plans. I didn't have the courage, I refused. 2019 was a year with a very strong emotional context, rich in friendship and sport. I wanted to say thank you to life, to thank, in my own way, those who care and those who work tirelessly to find new treatments. I then said to myself that offering, on behalf of my colleagues, a covering of their stallion(s) in an auction, the profits of which would be donated to cancer research, should not be impossible. And I was right. »

How did you persuade the donors? What message did you want to convey to them? 

"Cancer is a disease that concerns everyone. No one is unaffected, either in their own body or in the bodies of those close to them. Cancer struck me without warning. Other people changed the way they looked at me. I never hid. There is a lot of money in our milieu, which may seem, a little superficial sometimes, but where there is also, and above all, a lot of humanity. In 2019, I started contacting friends. Everything went quickly, I barely had time to finish my sentence, to discuss the promotion of stallions via online sales promotion, when I was asked the question: "What should I give? ». Nothing. A dose that passes among so many others. The bidders, for their part, did not hesitate to put a little more money into the auction, they wanted to contribute. My message was clear: cancer can be cured, it should no longer be a synonym for death. We have to talk about it, we have to fight it, we have to help research, patients and their families. »

What are Horse & Hope's objectives for the coming years?

"In 2020, Horse & Hope raised €33,673 which was donated to two associations, Se Vince and Les Amis de Bordet. The clinic in Bordet, which is a major site for cancer research in Belgium, is also the place where I was treated. The money paid to Les Amis de Bordet was used to provide psychological help to young cancer patients.

For the 2021 auction, I am directly contacted by new donors who want to offer a covering of their stallion(s). Sometimes I don't know them. Even if the promotion of their horses is real, it is not their first motivation. They want to help and encourage. This year, the Horse & Hope auction will offer an embryo. This is unprecedented and shows the commitment of the donors because conceiving an embryo costs money. There will also be a jewel from the MARIE MAS house (https://bit.ly/2Z7b9nD). I am only a chief of orchestra. The musicians, the artists are the donors and the bidders. I would also like to highlight the commitment of the Ekestrian team, which goes far beyond what is expected of a job.

The online auction is a start. Horse & Hope is a common project where everyone wants to go further. I imagine, why not, a gala with lots related to horses: coverings, embryos, but also equestrian equipment and artworks...which would bring the donors to the attention of the auctioneers. A little like JustWorld International, an association that fights child poverty and works for children's education. It's a bit easier in the USA because success is more easily acknowledged there. However, we should learn to feed on the success of others, because it is contagious.

Time is needed to set up such a project. I don't have a lot of time, but I'll get some. I will probably start with friends, it will be a buddy project first. Friendship is essential for me. It allows you to do great things. »

What do you think of the advances in cancer research?

"Cancer research is progressing every day. Many cancers are now being treated. Treatments are better than yesterday and will be more effective tomorrow. They are also better tolerated. I receive a lot of testimonies, with the cancer topic becoming more easily discussed, and many tell me that with the treatments they had fifteen years ago, they would never have been able to continue to lead their lives as I have led mine. But research and support for patients and their families is expensive. Horse & Hope is a drop in the ocean, but thanks to all the little drops, we'll make it together. If Horse & Hope, with the money it brings, manages to save even one person in the next 30 years, I would have won. »

You got married in 2020 with your partner Alice Tréhoust. How did the love of your loved ones help you overcome your illness?

"I asked my future wife to marry me one day before I went back to hospital because I knew I would be very weak in the coming weeks, probably unable to do anything. She was so present for me! My doctor told me that cancer was often a source of separation. There is a phase that is almost more difficult for the people around you than for the patient (once the slap of the wrist is taken from the announcement of cancer). The family and friends don't have the closeness to the doctors, the explanations, the support. For us, this ordeal has strengthened us. I have changed as a human being. At the hospital, I saw old people, but also young people, sick children, you can't forget that. I enjoy life more. My wife is more cautious than I am, but I want to do everything, I know that every moment is precious. I changed my lifestyle, I was a showjumping rider, I ran everywhere. When I see Jérôme Guéry on Quel Homme de Hus, I never regret telling myself it's my horse and that I'm not on it. But it is also because Jérôme and his wife Patricia are our friends. »

What message would you like to convey to people with cancer and their families?

"Apart from the fact that treatments are becoming more and more effective and that science is advancing very quickly, I would like to tell them that it is important to talk, not to stay alone. The word is powerful and in it lies a part of healing. The body is also healed with the head and sharing it with others is essential. This is what made a big impression on the others when I was clear about my situation. My first cancer, in 2015, was testicular cancer. What could be more personal? This cancer is most common in young men. I told myself that if I freed my word, others will do it and can be detected, treated and helped more quickly. While breast cancer is (almost) approached without taboo, this is not the case with testicular cancer, because it affects the image of virility... My second cancer manifested itself in the form of resistant cells in the abdominal lymph nodes. I had to undergo quite aggressive chemotherapy. But I got up again. Doctors are often pessimistic because they prefer to prepare for the worst rather than give false hope, but you have to fight, to hold on. Nothing is ever lost. I want to add that at the moment the world revolves around the Covid, which puts aside other pathologies either because people are afraid to go to hospital or because the doctors can't receive them. It is necessary to insist on continuing the current treatments. This is vital. »

To end this interview, can you tell us a little bit about horses and your relationship with them? What is your first memory of riding a horse?

"I don't come from this background. I had parents who worked a lot. They didn't have a lot of time to look after me, so they dropped me off at the pony course and I loved it! It was a 15 minute drive but it took me 3 hours to get there on roller skates. I was in a great pony club, I spent my weekends and holidays there. It's all my youth! »

What do you like about them?

"Ah, that's a curious question for me as a professional! It's difficult to answer it spontaneously... What I like is the way they look at me. The complicity that sets in. I have really nice horses and it's a pleasure to look after them. But there is someone who counts more than anything else, it's Quel Homme de Hus. He's a clever horse. You get the impression that he understands everything because he knows how to make the most of every moment. We've been offered very large sums of money for Quel Homme de Hus. But he is our friend and we don't sell our friend. »

Go to https://bit.ly/2Lmbks6 to discover the catalogue NOW!

The auction will take place 100% online and will start on Tuesday, 16th February at 11am (French time) and will close lot by lot, minute by minute on Wednesday, 17th February at 9pm (French time).

Don't forget to create your account and/or update your details on the site to be able to access the catalogue and bid on the auctions on this link: https://bit.ly/3pOUNvB

Information and price estimates from the Ekestrian team on + or + or contact@ekestrian.com.