Wednesday, July 18, 2018

We had the privilege to get an interview about André Lassooij, his life was saved by an unknown lung donor!  Read about his remarkable life from being diagnosed with a progressive and irreversible lung disease causing him to need a lung transplant to survive.

“André Lassooij was in his early 30’s when pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) was diagnosed. Before he was ill, he practiced in various sports, including table tennis, squash, cycling and running. The next four years after he was diagnosed, the disease changed him. The duration of his power was rapidly deteriorating and it was almost impossible for him to move without oxygen. A stair elevator was needed, André had to stop work and visited the hospital often. But he still went with oxygen to the sport school and swimming (with a tube of 12m and the bottle on the site of the pool!) until even that wasn’t possible anymore in spite of full oxygen.

In year of 1996, Andrés life was changed completely by the lifesaving "Gift of life" of an unknown lung donor. After the transplant, his health improved immediately and after four months he was able to his work on the bike again! One year after transplantation, he participated in the World Transplant Games (WTG) in Sydney, Australia. André was then able to participate in all of the following WTG and developed in athletics, winning many medals. The WTG Gold Coast, Australia in 2009 was his most successful with world records in the 100m and 200m sprints and gold in high and long jump. André is most proud of his sporting performance in 2008, when he became Dutch champion at the 200m sprint M50, whose opponents in the final did not know or barely knew of his double lung transplantation.

In 2014, André, as initiator of Expedition Kilimanjaro, managed to climb with 8 other organ transplant recipients, under the responsibility of the UMCG, the Kilimanjaro with the summit at 5895m. In addition to his athletic achievements, André has dealt with a number of administrative functions. As Vice-President of the European Heart Lung Transplant Federation, Chairman of the Organizing Committee for the European Heart and Lung Transplant Games in Apeldoorn 2012, Chairman of the Dutch Sport and Transplantation Foundation and in 2013 elected Trustee, and since 2015, Chairman of the Sports Committee of the World Transplant Games Federation. For his inspiring sports performance and administrative functions after his double lung transplant, in 2016 André Lassooij received the European Lung Foundation Award (ELF). Earlier, the ELF Award was awarded to the World Health Organization (2014), FC Barcelona (2013) and Mr Bloomberg, New York (2008).

In 2016, with the project “Life for Kids”, André promoted physical activity for children before and after transplant by giving presentations in 15 transplant centers for children on his cycling route of 3610 km over Amsterdam, Brussels, London, Paris, Madrid and Malaga. To meet, speak and inspire the children, parents and doctors about physical activity solutions in and outside the hospital. Andre said "Giving them a feeling there is a healthy future possible after the transplant was a wonderful experience”.

André 's positive attitude, his athletic achievements and his commitment to promoting organ donation is inspiring. And makes the "RECYCLE ME” movement more than true!”

Keep up the good work André! You are truly a man of many talents, warm hearted, full of life an inspiration to all of us!

Remember organ donation only works if we unite together, yours and others lives can be saved if we all sign up as organ donors. In the photo André is wearing a RECYCLE ME T-shirt to promote Organ Donation Awareness.

Links to organisations etc., mentioned in text:
The European Lung Foundation Award (ELF)
Life for Kids