Transcending Transplant: How Dr. Sunita Mathur Helps Recipients Stay Fit

Dr. Mathur’s research helps organ transplant recipients get back to enjoying the activities they love.

John Rost before, during, and after surgeryRecently, Dr. Mathur received an email from John Rost, a bilateral lung transplant recipient and Texan blogger. His website, The Primal Transplant – A Story of Living With New Lungs, a New Lifestyle, and Swinging Kettlebells, chronicles John’s journey towards health and wellbeing after receiving new lungs on January 1, 2015. John wrote to Dr. Mathur to thank her for her research on exercise limitation in recipients of lung transplants; it helped him understand his slower than expected strength and endurance gains post-transplant. Her study explained how some of the medications taken by transplant recipients, specifically steroid medications, can limit muscle function and exercise capacity.

“I was reviewing Dr. Mathur’s paper to find clues on how I might improve my strength and endurance, and decided to drop her a line thanking her for doing this research.  Her data showed there was a real reason for my weakness.  Once I understood that, I could move forward and just get done what I could do” says John (pictured before and after surgery).

“When I receive feedback from patients whose health has improved because of my work, I am motivated to dig deeper, learn more, and share my discoveries with the transplant community” explains Dr. Mathur, Assistant Professor in the Department of Physical Therapy and Co-Founder of The Canadian Network for Rehabilitation and Exercise for  Solid Organ Transplant Optimal Recovery (CAN-RESTORE).

“Transplant patients feel tremendously grateful for their new organ. In honour of their organ donor family, and this second chance at life, many are committed to living an active lifestyle. Through CAN-RESTORE, we aim to equip transplant recipients with the knowledge they need to lead healthy and active lives” explains Dr. Mathur.

John Rost exercising wiht a kettle bell

John exercising with kettle bells

In fact, CAN-RESTORE will be present at the Canadian Transplant Games hosted by the Canadian Transplant Association at University of Toronto from August 8-13, 2016. The Transplant Games provide an opportunity for organ transplant recipients from around the country to come together for competition and fun in a celebration of health. The transplant athletes, ranging from age 4 to 80+, will choose from sports such as track and field, swimming, golf, tennis, table tennis, pickleball, badminton, bowling, cycling and lawn bowling. Dr. Mathur and her CAN-RESTORE Co-Founder Tania Janaudis-Ferreira of McGill University, will attend these games, providing support for these athletes.