Denis’s Trek For Lisa: a Phenomenal Sporting and Solidarity Challenge

I met Denis back in 2016, when we were both new at VMware.

Journey with VMware starts with START Onboarding Trainings, and for us, that was 4 intensive days in Staines – London. START is a great opportunity to meet new people and learn about the products, solutions overviews, stacks, use-cases, resources (internal and external), the company, the culture, the EPIC2 values, and much more… Loved it.

People you meet at START remain special along the passing years, I remember so well of Marek, Geert, Leon, Wesley, and many different people, and …. There was Denis, with whom we share our French native language.

This year, a little birdie has told me that Denis is embarking on a phenomenal sporting and solidarity challenge!

So Denis, who are you ?

I am a proud father of 2 children (soon a 3rd kid :-)), I am married, I’m 40 and I live in the South-West of France. I love hiking, swimming, I’m sensible to environmental topics.
I like to learn and to be challenged. I’m sometimes seen as a high-risk taker, but the truth is that I weigh the pros and cons. Once decided, I can take all risks to achieve my goal because I’m also prepared against worst case scenario.

Last but not least, I like to help around me when I can but I usually do it more discreetly than what I’m doing now. 

What is your career journey before joining VMware ?

I started my career in the French Army as a soldier in Bayonne – France- at the 1st Marine Infantry Paratroopers Regiment. After 10 years in the army at different roles, I took up an airline pilot retraining for 3 years. Despite being fully qualified on Boeing 737, I did not have the chance to find a permanent job.
In 2013, I returned to my first passion, name it Information Technology – IT.
Then I joined VMware in 2016, as TAM -Technical Account Manager. My job is to help customers accelerate time to value of VMware solutions, optimize operations and keep pace with rapid technology changes.

Tell us about Denis’s Trek For Lisa you are preparing !

The Pyrenees is a mountain range straddling the border of France and Spain.
I am going to meet the challenge to walk across the Pyrenees from one side, therefore from the East to the Western limit of the Pyrenees.
In this respect, that represents about 800 km of walking on what is called the HRP – the High Pyrenean Route.

Is it the GR 10?

Actually yes, there is a part of  GR 10 which has a French side and a part on the GR 11 on the Spanish side. Notwithstanding there is a  whole set of trails which do not necessarily have names and which are not necessarily marked.
HRP is more of a concept than a real path to follow. In essence HRP is a flexible itinerary. The HRP was popularized by Georges Veron in 1968 where he laid the groundwork for this route on horseback. In a nutshell, it consists of traditionally joining the Atlantic Ocean coast to the Mediterranean Sea coast.

I plan to go the opposite of the traditional way, that is to say starting in Banyuls-sur-Mer – east coast ending in Hendaye – West Coast.

If you ask why … Because I am a lover of the Basque country and my wife is Basque. Consequently, I would like to end my trek with what will bring me closer to the region where my heart belongs. This is the overview of the journey:

  • Departure on June 22nd 2022 – Banyuls-sur-Mer beach;
  • 43 steps through a set of trails, marked or not, between France, Spain and Andorra;
  • Arrival in Hendaye Beach planned beg. August 2023

+/- 50,000 m of positive altitude change!

Eq. of 10 times Mont Blanc or 5 times Everest.

Part of the adventure, I will wear the colours of Lisa Forever at long last. My goal is to raise funds for Lisa Forever , non-profit fighting against childhood cancer.

Denis’s Trek For Lisa Supported Non-Profit 

Created in February 2010, following the death of little Lisa, who had suffered from a brain tumor since the age of 2.5 years.

After 14 months of treatment, surgery and chemotherapy, Lisa’s disease mutated and became much more aggressive. In front of this mutation, science had no solution, the disease took her away on December 29, 2009, about to turn 4. The story of Lisa and her family is not unique, so the goal is all together to beat childhood cancer. Childhood cancer is the leading cause of children death from disease: 1 in 440 children develop cancer before the age of 15.

Major objectives of the Non-profit are:

  • contribute financially to the search for new treatments against childhood cancer.
  • Improve the daily life of children in the hospital.
  • Improve care during and after illness.

Wanna support ?
Denis’s Trek For Lisa has started its donation campaign! Association LisaForEver is also part of Brightfund.

What About the Prep for Denis’s Trek For Lisa ?

I regularly hike in the mountains to train on weekends… when the weather permits. For example, if I go on a single day, it’s between 20 and 30 km. Furthermore, sometimes, I also go to bivouac for few days. It’s important given that I have to test my equipment and adjust it. Consequently, in these cases it is a little longer than 40 km.

I often go alone. Not Always, but most of the time. Lately, I went hiking to clear my mind. I woke up at 3AM for a 30km walk and 1600m D+, in order to reach another famous Pyrenean mountain: “Gran Fache” (3005m / 9858ft) – France/Spain border.

The final climb was difficult but rewarding!

Financing of Denis’Trek For Lisa

Denis has already financed the whole equipment and materials on his own (+/- €5000). If you’d like to support Denis‘s adventure, this is the way to go: https://www.helloasso.com/associations/lisa-forever/collectes/trek-for-lisa

Admittedly Denis is fully self-financed, then each EURO raised goes directly to support Lisa Forever in many of their pediatric cancer initiatives.

Follow Denis’s extraordinary feat on social networks:
Instagram: DenisTrek4Lisa
Twitter: @DenisTrek4Lisa
YouTube: DenisTrek4Lisa
GPS-tracking during the feat: DenisTrek4Lisa

You Rock Denis ! Wishing you all the best for this adventure !