Astellas Pharma Inc. and the World Transplant Games Federation (WTGF) today announced the launch of Fit for Life!, a global programme to help transplant recipients live full and active lives through ongoing physical activity and participation in organised sports. The announcement was made at the 26th International Congress of The Transplantation Society in Hong Kong. As a longtime supporter of the transplantation community, including world and local country transplant games, Astellas has expanded its collaboration with WTGF through this programme to help evolve the WTGF’s physical activity focused programming to include providing transplant and organ donation communities resources, research and advice regarding nutrition and physical activity post-transplant.
A healthy lifestyle is important for everyone, but it’s especially important after an organ transplant as poor lifestyle habits can increase the risk of organ rejection. Additionally, studies have shown that those who are obese may have more health problems after a transplant than someone who weighs less. For example, the long term success of a kidney transplant depends on several factors including proper diet, exercise, and weight loss, if needed.
“As longtime supporters of the transplantation community, we are proud to continue our collaboration with the World Transplant Games Federation and help make a difference in the lives of transplant recipients and their loved ones around the world,” said Yoshihiko Hatanaka, president and chief executive officer, Astellas. “Astellas is committed to continuing to work with partner organisations to respond to transplant recipient challenges and address unmet needs.”
To help raise awareness of the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle post-transplant through the Fit for Life! programme, the WTGF will begin accepting applications for Fit for Life! Ambassadors on September 1, 2016. Transplant recipients from participating countries around the world can submit an online essay explaining how they have stayed fit and active in their life post-transplant. Fit for Life! Ambassadors will be responsible for inspiring other recipients through their own commitment to remaining fit and active post-transplant. Ambassadors will represent WTGF by speaking about their physical activity and fitness experience to transplant clinics, participating in sporting programmes and encouraging others to attend transplant games.
To celebrate the start of this programme, an independent judging panel will review the submissions and select 12 ambassadors from around the world to receive an all-expenses paid trip to Chicago, Illinois to be recognised during an international test rugby match between the World-champion New Zealand All Blacks and the Irish Rugby Football Union at Chicago’s iconic Soldier Field. Legendary All Black Jonah Lomu was a kidney transplant recipient, and both former All Black wing Joeli Vidiri and former Ireland lock Richard Costello have received kidney transplants.
“Our Federation is committed to encouraging transplant recipients to be more active, more often, because research shows that physical fitness plays a critical role in maintaining long-term well-being for transplant recipients,” said Chris Thomas, president, World Transplant Games Federation. “Fit for Life! is a mantra that everyone in the community, and especially transplant recipients, should embrace. We are thrilled to showcase this programme at such a prestigious rugby match and are grateful for Astellas’ continued commitment to the global transplantation community.”
The judging panel will be chaired by Professor Jeremy Chapman AC, a world-renowned renal physician and former president of The Transplantation Society.
Please visit wtgf.org. to learn more about Fit for Life! and the Fit for Life! Ambassadors programme.
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 Lentine KL, et, all (2012). Obesity and kidney transplant candidates: how big is too big for transplantation? Am J Nephrol. 2012;36(6):575-86. doi: 10.1159/000345476.
 National Kidney Foundation (2016). Care After Kidney Transplant. Retrieved August 4, 2016 from:https://www.kidney.org/atoz/content/immunosuppression