Central Virginians Prep for the 2014 Transplant Games

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Paul Poluito and Jim Henry Paul Poluito and Jim Henry

A group of people who have all received a new lease on life are preparing for this year's Transplant Games of America in Houston, Texas. The Transplant Games is a multi-sport festival event for individuals who have undergone life-saving transplant surgeries.

A pair from central Virginia hit the Spring Creek Golf Club this week for a special practice round before leaving for the competition.

The two members of Team Virginia are ready to take on challengers from all over the country. They were brought together through similar lifesaving experiences at the University of Virginia Medical Center.

Paul Poluito and Jim Henry teed off at the Spring Creek Golf Course for some last-minute practice time together before battling it out against other teams in the two-man scramble golf event at the 2014 Transplant Games.

“It will be interesting to compete, to see other people and meet other people with similar experiences,” said Henry.

“When I was in the hospital after I had my transplant, they were giving me all this information about things you can do and things you can't do and one of the pieces of information in there was the Transplant Games of America and I went, ‘Hey!’” said Poluito.

The men met through the Team Virginia network, but are bonded by this unique recovery process for their individual procedures.

Poluito chose to participate after a full liver transplant in March 2007. Henry found a similar interest in the games after his double lung transplant.

Spring Creek gave the pair a complimentary practice round to help them prepare for the competition.

“Transplant is somewhat near and dear to me in that my wife works with the liver and kidney transplant division at UVA,” said Brian Vincel, general manager at Spring Creek Golf Club.

The men are excited to connect with others who have also gotten this special gift of life.

“Meeting the other recipients, the donor families, just all the people that you meet from all over the country. That's the best part of the whole thing,” said Poluito.

The pair is flying out from Charlottesville for the four-day competition on Friday.

Henry says his main event at the Transplant Games is actually tennis. Poluito will also be running the 5K with his wife this year.

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