The day before his transplant in 2017, the 26-year-old Sarthois was on oxygen, in a wheelchair. At the end of his breathing capacity, he had been waiting for a month for the phone call telling him that a graft was available. Others, like the singer Grégory Lemarchal (died at 23), were not so lucky.

“Before I was coughing 24 hours a day, I was always short of breath. Today I no longer have physio, no more infusions and I no longer have to be fed by tube at night. I only take anti-rejection drugs for the transplant. My life has really changed,” he told AFP during training at the Brûlon leisure center (Sarthe).

After running the Paris marathon in October alongside his surgeon, Alexandre Allain came to the end of the Ironman des Sables d’Olonne (Vendée) in early July. Arrived last “in 8:25”, he is no less proud of the result, after 1.9 km of swimming, 91 km of cycling and 21 km of running for a size of only 50 kilos and 1 meter 66.

“I took a big cup of sea water and the first 20 km of cycling were very hard mentally but it remains my best memory. I have never experienced such an atmosphere on the finish line”, assures the young man, who prepared for six months at the rate of 15 hours a week.

“It’s an exceptional performance. We did everything from A to Z in cycling and swimming”, explains his coach Nicolas Leroy. “At first it was complicated because he only swam the breaststroke for 25 meters, and on the bike, we worked on how to pedal, elbows on the handlebars, with automatic pedals”.

– Will “out of the ordinary” –

“It’s difficult to stop Alexandre in his sports projects. With him it’s intense, he has a strong character and travels a lot to explain his illness”, confides his father Jean-Luc, who runs an ambulance transport company. .

Cystic fibrosis is a genetic disease for which there is no treatment. It affects around 7,000 people in France and causes the secretion of abnormally thick mucus, which obstructs the respiratory tract and the digestive system.

By embarking on sporting adventures or taking up challenges with friends, such as a tour of 19 European countries in a Renault 6 in 2014, or a sailing tour of the Atlantic in 2019, Alexandre wishes to “raise awareness”. to his illness and organ donation.

“50% of these challenges are to prove things to me, it makes me live, and 50% are to convey a message of hope. When you have mucosa, you shouldn’t put your children in a bubble “, explains the one who refuses to be reduced” to his illness.

“I didn’t get a transplant to sit on my couch watching series on TV,” he wrote in his book “A breath of hope” (Ed. Hugo Doc), released at the end of 2021.

Alexandre recounts his life, his suffering, the death of his mother from cancer when he was 13, as well as anecdotes, such as when he obtained permission from the doctors to leave the hospital for two hours he was hospitalized to attend a law class in a wheelchair.

Asked by AFP, his surgeon Antoine Mugniot evokes a boy with an “outstanding” will. “He is admirable because he has gone through a lot of hardships and he is a magnificent example of the success of the transplant”, he underlines.

If a new drug today greatly improves the lives of patients, making it possible to opt for a transplant only as a very last resort because of the risk of rejection and side effects, Mr. Mugniot recalls that “we always lack of donors in France”.

Fan of reading, especially biographies, and politics, Alexandre has just set up a production company with his brother and is already dreaming of his next challenge.