When his son Ilhan was born on April 4 2009, Stéphane Etienne learnt that he suffered from renal hypoplasia: one of his kidneys functions at 15% and the other not at all. The young father decided to cease his professional activity in order to dedicate himself entirely to his baby’s illness. The following year, this French expat living in Australia created the organization WorldRiderZ. His goal? To raise awareness about the disease, promote prevention of kidney disease, and raise funds for research.
With his partner Jean-Marc Siron, he then decided to begin a 25,000 kilometer motorbike adventure, between Sydney and Paris, and to share it with the media. Many articles and interviews followed, an Australian television channel even offered to film his journey and make a series of documentaries. Over 4 months, the two men stopped in hospitals in Asia, the Middle East and Europe in order to evaluate the material needs of their pediatric nephrology services. During their second trip in July 2012, the WorldRiderZ, departing from Disneyland Paris, completed, with the support of L’Occitane, 30,000 kilometers on motorbike crossing North America.
This year, the sporting challenges of the founder of WorldRiderZ were different, after having hurtled down the ski runs last winter, it’s on two-wheels, but non-motorized, that Stéphane Etienne is getting people talking about kidney disease. The courageous father, wearing a handsome helmet in the colors of L’Occitane, participated in a number of stages of the Tour de France and particularly in the Etape de Coeur, a charity ride that took place on July 4 in Nice. It’s a time trial organized by another association also fighting for ill children, Chirurgie Mécénat Cardiaque. On the WorldRiderZ Facebook page, Stéphane Etienne says, “L’Etape du Cœur, a real pleasure to cycle with Hinault, Virenque and the rest of the group. Must do it again!” Stéphane Etienne’s combat for Ihan continues, to whom he plans in time to donate one of his kidneys.