06 Jun MEDIA RELEASE: New Fit for Life! Passport to recognize the long-term success of transplantation
For close to 40 years transplant recipients from across the world have travelled every two years to celebrate their renewed lives at the World Transplant Games.
The World Transplant Games Federation (WTGF) has been conducting sports for transplant recipients through the World Transplant Games since the late 1970s. The Federation itself will celebrate its 30th anniversary at the World Transplant Games in Malaga, Spain, in June this year.
To celebrate this milestone the WTGF is to introduce a new Fit for Life! Passport Program to help transplant recipients record their games participation.
WTGF President, Chris Thomas, announced today the creation of the Fit for Life! Passport as part of the WTGF commitment to encouraging transplant recipients to remain fit and active post-transplant.
Fit for Life! Passports will be issued to every transplant competitor and supporter at the 21st World Transplant Games to be held in Malaga, Spain, from June 25 to July 2.
“Its 30 years this year since the Federation formally came into existence and almost 40 years since the first World Transplant Games was staged in Portsmouth, England,” Mr Thomas said.
“Since that time the World Transplant Games have grown into the world’s largest event celebrating the success of transplantation and recognizing the most unique gift of all – the gift of life.
“We will have athletes at these Games in Malaga who first participated in the 1980 World Transplant Games in New York. Some athletes have participated in 15 or 16 Games. I wonder whether their donor family thought that the gift they were giving all those years back would keeping on giving year after year? It is so inspirational.”
One such athlete, Dennis Segatto, from Canada, who will participate in Malaga, remembered the New York Games in 1980.
“There were 200 athletes from 11 countries and this included, for the first time, five heart transplant recipients. I made many friends from around the world, however, my fondest memory is running the 3 mile road race in Central Park,” Mr Segatto said.
“I know very well how important it is to get active as soon as possible after transplantation in order to recover and continue a healthy active lifestyle, after all we are given a second chance at life and we should make the most of the special gift someone has given to us.
“We should all be beacons of hope for others to become ambassadors for “Fit for Life” in our own special ways and encourage others to register their consent to become possible organ and tissue donors as their dying wishes.
The Fit for Life! Passport will enable transplant recipients to record their previous Games participation in the back of the passport while having future games’ attendance stamped similar to a normal travel passport.
The WTGF will issue stamps for each Summer and Winter World Transplant Games while encouraging other national and regional transplant games to enroll in the passport program.
In addition to Recording Game attendance, placements can also be captured in the passports. With every medal won a replica “Medal Sticker” will be given to the athlete to stick into their passports.
The passport is another initiative of the WTGF Fit for Life! Program which aims to achieve ‘more transplant recipients, more active, more often’. The Program is proudly supported by Astellas.
Mr Thomas said the WTGF was committed to helping recipients set benchmarks for their own health and active lifestyle.
“The evidence is in across the world. Transplant recipients who remain active around their transplant organ have better long-term outcomes. This improves their quality of life, enables them to enjoy family life longer while of course reducing the burden on our health care systems.
“Fit for Life! is an inspirational program not just for the sport and active-minded recipients. We will also be introducing programs to help recipients to take the first step towards an active lifestyle. And in recognition of the role of their family and friends in encouraging recipients to get moving, we have introduced a Supporter Passport for these Games. We are thrilled with the success of the program so far.”
All athletes and supporters attending the games are asked to bring along one Passport photo of themselves to be inserted in the information page of Passport.
Further information on this will be communicated through our media channels leading up the games.
WTGF – Kim Renyard (firstname.lastname@example.org)