World Day of Congenital Heart Diseases
« It’s good that rugby is mobilized and that everyone is mobilized »
February 14th is Valentine’s Day but it is also the day to raise awareness of congenital heart disease. In recent days, Provale has posted on social medias pictures of players with a pretty little heart and men on the two fingers of their left hand. This small sign was intended to support the association Petit Cœur de Beurre and more generally all the associations that support the families of children suffering from congenital heart disease.
Cyril Baille, from the Stade Toulousain rugby, is one of the face of Petit Cœur de Beurre. Richard Fourcade, second row from CA Brive, is also very familiar with this association and their work since one of his kids is suffering from congenital heart disease.
Richard and Lauriane Fourcade are never far from each other, surrounding little Maël all the time. It must be said that young parents have faced some serious challenges in recent months.
In fact, everything had started off pretty well when on June 22, 2018, Lauriane gave birth to Maël, a « very cute » baby. But quickly, after running a few tests, the doctors detected a murmur in the newborn’s heart :
« We didn’t worry too much » say the parents with one voice. We were told that this was the case for many chlildren and that this should be monitored two months later. »
Even if there is apprehension, Richard and Lauriane discover the joys of paternity. « very smiling Maël was growing well ». Her mother happily breastfeeds. It’s the middle of summer. The check-up appointment is approaching. It is scheduled for Thursday, August 16. There are a few small signs that still disturb young parents. Their baby sweats a lot, he seems out of breath. But the general practitioner and the paediatrician are reassuring:
« You will discuss the situation with the cardiologist. But there’s nothing alarming. It is hot. It’s normal for him to sweat. »
The Monday before the appointment, they don’t know it yet, but worrying signs are being added:
« Maël had black and liquid stools. We were looking forward to arriving at the Thursday appointment ».
Then, the long-awaited moment is here. Richard, who was unable to free himself from his training, is on the field in shorts. He trains hard. Lauriane, meanwhile, supported by her mother, goes to Brive for the famous « control » visit. And then everything accelerates:
« In fact, everything was changing. The doctors found no pulse in Maël’s lower part of the body ».
Additional tests are performed. We must act quickly. Lauriane is desperately trying to reach her husband who can’t imagine what’s going on a few miles from the stadium. She ends up calling the club that is hurrying to tell Richard. He jumps into his car and joins his little family. Three malformations were detected. At 7pm, Maël was rushed to Limoges and then flown by helicopter to Bordeaux at 1am :
« They put him in an artificial coma. We were told to say goodbye to him. We didn’t know if he was going to survive. It was a very difficult time to live through. »
In Bordeaux, young parents are very much in contact with each other :
« The doctors explained the situation very simply to us. We were reassured ».
On Friday, August 17, Maël was operated on. His parents stay as much as possible at his bedside. But housing is expensive and La Maison des Parents too:
« It was more expensive than a night in a hotel. It was very hard to get organized. Especially since Maël could only be seen in the afternoon. We felt helpless ».
Little by little, Maël wakes up slowly from his coma. After about fifteen days, he was back to the mother-child hospital in Limoges, still very close from his parents. Today, Maël is seven months old. He still has some after-effects and remains very much under surveillance:
« His vocal cords were affected during intubation. It’s going to take a little while for him to recover. His left lung, which was atrophied, has returned to normal activity. And his diaphragm, which was collapsed, also returned to a normal size. At first, he was followed every week, then every two weeks, every month, and now every quarter. Besides, the next visit is coming up. »
Maël is well surrounded and, even if the road is still long and he is not safe from a new operation in the coming years, his smile would almost make him forget the nightmare months he and his family have just experienced:
« He’s fine, he laughs a lot. He eats very well. He’s solid! He’s seven months old, but we can dress him in a year. We’re fine too. In any case, we are better. We will not forget the months we have lived. We have lost weight. We didn’t know what to do to improve things. Today, with this action led by Provale, we have decided to talk, to tell our story. So that all those who would be in our situation would see that they are not alone. After our testimony to the newspaper La Montagne, we received a lot of calls and testimonies. You can’t imagine that so many people are going through similar things. These associations are very important! They must be known. We hadn’t heard of it before. So it’s good that rugby is mobilized, that everyone is mobilized. It makes things move in the right direction. We will also try to create an association in Brive, to share our experience and help those who need it. We would like to take this opportunity to thank all the medical staff at the Brive, Limoges and Bordeaux hospitals. Maël was very well surrounded ».
It’s ten o’clock. A little twittering is spreading across the house. Maël wakes up from his sleep in. Ready to devour life, impeccably supported by Richard and Lauriane.
INTERVIEW – CYRIL BAILLE
« Anyone can be affected by the disease »
Provale : You posted a photo on social networks to support the association Petit Cœur de Beurre. Can you tell us more about this process?
Cyril Baille : This association helps children with congenital heart disease and supports their families. I was contacted, with « Juju » Marchand, to team up with the association. We we accepted right away. As a result, we go to see the children at the hospital from time to time, we attend gala evenings and hold actions to support the association.
Provale : Is it important for you to get involved in an association?
Cyril Baille : Yes, it is. Really! On the one hand, this puts many things into perspective. When we see these children fighting, we think that we have no right to complain about stupid things. Then I tell myself that it is our duty to give a little of our time to others. They are so happy to see us! I know some of them that I see again during my visits and a link is necessarily created.
Provale : Did you feel touched by the fact that Provale challenged the players with the photo challenge and that they were present?
Cyril Baille : Yes, I really do! It’s great to see that the players have mobilized. The association was very touched and the children were happy. So do I. It is a great initiative and a great collective action.
Provale : Do you think this is part of Provale’s mission?
Cyril Baille : Of course, this is one of the vocations of Provale in my opinion. It is very important to support associations. Many people dream in front of us and do not have an easy life. It is through small actions like photography that we can do good things around us.
Provale : Richard Fourcade, son’s suffers from a heart condition, did you knew about this before this action took place ?
Cyril Baille : No, I was not aware of that. I think it’s very important that we support him and his wife much as we all can. We have helped each other. It is important to see that this does not only happen to others. Anyone can be affected by the disease.