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Astellas Awards Educational Scholarships to Six Transplant Recipients Who Embody the Spirit of Giving Back
Date:9/22/2009

DEERFIELD, Ill., Sept. 22 /PRNewswire/ -- Astellas Pharma US, Inc. has announced the winners of the first annual Astellas Transplant Scholars Awards, $5,000 educational scholarships awarded to six transplant recipients. Entrants were asked to write an essay about how transplant affected their education plans, and how they would like to honor the gift of life they received by pursuing further education and giving back to the transplant community.

"The Astellas Transplant Scholars Awards recognize transplant recipients who have already overcome great challenges and who are ready to take on new academic challenges - whether they're returning to school after surgery or just beginning their educational journeys," said Maribeth Landwehr, Director, Corporate Communications for Astellas. "Astellas applauds them for pursuing the gift of education and using it to raise awareness about organ donation and transplantation."

This year's inaugural contest received a large volume of entries. Due to the exceptional quality of each, this year's contest awarded six winners rather than five. A panel of judges selected the following winners based on the inspiring nature of their stories and how they plan to use their education to benefit the community:

Zachary Brooks, kidney transplant recipient from Burbank, CA

Zachary Brooks is a two-time kidney recipient whose second chance at life compelled him to give back to others. Following his first transplant, Zachary left his job at a start-up company to become a teacher in Los Angeles. Zachary is now pursuing a Master's in Applied Linguistics with the ultimate goal of becoming a professor. Throughout his transplant experience and educational journey, Zachary has been a regular volunteer with the National Kidney Foundation and has participated in the US Transplant Games.

Brianne Catarozoli, liver transplant recipient from Eagle, WI

In March 2009, Brianne Catarozoli was diagnosed with a rare liver disease, and though she had been a seemingly healthy college student, her condition quickly deteriorated until she was in danger of losing her life. Fortunately, on April 7, Brianne received a lifesaving liver transplant. Because she almost lost her dream of becoming a teacher, Brianne is now even more determined to achieve her dream and complete her degree. As a teaching professional, she plans to share her story and educate families on the importance of organ donation and the miracle of transplantation.

Jessica Chipkin, liver transplant recipient from Kinnelon, NJ

Following a lifesaving liver transplant at age 21, Jessica Chipkin returned to college to finish her undergraduate degree and then began a career in advertising. She also actively volunteers with the American Liver Foundation, the New York Organ Donor Network and in a local hospital's transplant department. Her hands-on work with transplant recipients inspired her to switch careers, and she is now enrolled in post-graduate studies to become a social worker.

Patrice Fisher, heart and kidney transplant recipient from Southaven, MS

Patrice Fisher was pursuing a bachelor's degree in political science when she was diagnosed with congestive heart failure and end-stage renal disease. Thankfully, she received a heart and kidney transplant in September 2008. Patrice's second chance at life inspired her to change her educational path and she will soon begin a nursing program to become an advanced practice nurse specializing in cardiology/nephrology for transplant recipients.

Julie Hotze, liver transplant recipient from Teutopolis, IL

After undergoing two liver transplants in 1990, Julie Hotze wanted to reciprocate the kindness offered by her donor families by volunteering in her community. Julie donates time tutoring, teaching religion and volunteering with a local youth group. She has also made more than 25 quilts for children at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, a four hour distance from her home, where she volunteers. To continue giving back, Julie is pursuing a degree in elementary education and wants to help children find a love for learning. She will also continue educating her community about the importance of organ donation.

Douglas Lampert, Jr., liver transplant recipient from St. Louis, MO

Douglas Lampert, Jr. received a liver transplant when he was only nine months old, and since then, he has dedicated his life to raising awareness about the importance of organ donation. As a child, he participated in the Transplant Olympics in Japan, where he was able to share his story with people from all over the world. This experience helped drive Douglas' interest in learning languages so that he could share his story even more broadly. As a college student, Douglas is currently studying French and German alongside his primary degree of psychology. He hopes to work in a hospital and apply his psychology degree to helping families through the process of organ donation and transplantation.

Astellas will continue to follow the story of these six winners and the direct impact they are making on their communities. For more information regarding the Astellas Transplant Scholars Awards or to read the winning essays, visit www.AstellasTransplant.com; for transplant resources and information on transplant events visit www.TransplantExperience.com or www.Facebook.com/DonateLife.

About Astellas

Astellas is a recognized leader in transplantation and has been committed to the field of immunology for more than 20 years. Dedicated to supporting the advancement of care for patients, Astellas continues to build upon its legacy and leadership in transplantation by investing in ongoing clinical research and new product development.

Astellas Pharma US, Inc., located in Deerfield, Illinois, is a U.S. affiliate of Tokyo-based Astellas Pharma Inc. Astellas is a pharmaceutical company dedicated to "Changing tomorrow" by improving the health of people around the world through innovative and reliable pharmaceutical products. The organization is committed to becoming a global category leader in focused areas by combining outstanding R&D and marketing capabilities. In the US, Astellas markets products in the areas of Anti-Infectives, Cardiovascular, Dermatology, Immunology and Urology. For more information about Astellas Pharma US, Inc., please visit our Web site at www.us.astellas.com or www.AstellasTransplant.com.

    Contacts:       Jenny Keeney
                    Astellas US LLC
                    (847) 317-5405

                    Lauren McDonnell
                    For Astellas
                    (312) 729-4233


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