Patient Spotlight: Achille Abbondanza

After recently receiving a double lung transplant, Achille cycled an impressive 395.8km for #TakeTheActiveOption in 2022. We catch up with him as we relaunch Take The Active Option for 2023.

Tell us a bit about yourself and how you become involved with ELF?

My name is Achille Abbondanza and I live in Cervia, Italy. In June 2015 I was diagnosed with Interstitial Lung Disease (ILD). I became involved in an ELF Patient Advisory Group due to my role as a patient representative within the Italian Federation of IPF and Rare Pulmonary Diseases (FIMARP). In my years of illness with IPF, I always believed that constant physical activity would help me to live better despite the worsening condition of my lungs. From 2017 to 2020, I began an initiative where I travelled around Italy by e-bicycle carrying oxygen on my shoulders.

I have made physical activity my second, and my favourite, medicine and I hope to be able to continue taking it for as long as my 88-year-old father Umberto has, who still cycles about 150 km every week!

What inspired you to get involved with our Take The Active Option challenge?

I participated in Take The Active Option in 2021 because my conditions made it unsafe for my health to ride outside the house, especially because I was on the transplant list and waiting for the call of life. I embraced this initiative because it was in line with what I’ve done over the years.  A sedentary lifestyle enhances these diseases that take your breath away more and more every day! The most rewarding part was creating a team and then seeing friends participate in this challenge with me. It was a great show of love!

What is your favourite memory from the challenge?

My best memory is the “Italian Triathlon” that we organised to raise funds for ELF, which involves swimming 250 metres, eating 80 grams of spaghetti, and then cycling 8km. It was great to see such high participation! I participated in the triathlon eating spaghetti and my wife Irene did the swimming and cycling!

Why are initiatives like Take The Active Option important?

The WHO says that moving throughout the year can save our lives. Recent studies say that regular physical activity alone could reduce European mortality by 7%. Take The Active Option and other initiatives of this type promote regular physical activity and I believe it is important to support them in order to increase this awareness.

Will you be doing Take The Active Option again this year and if so, do you have a goal?

I had a double lung transplant in April 2022, and I hope to be fit enough to participate and to make a team of friends like last year who can contribute to the cause. To anyone thinking of joining in this year, I would say let’s participate in the spirit of increasing the importance of physical activity for our health and for the health of our lungs!


Register for Take The Active Option now!