HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- On Saturday, runners checked in and visited the expo at the George R. Brown Convention Center in preparation for what's expected to be a cold, windy Chevron Houston Marathon Sunday morning.
"When you're running in cold temperatures and it's windy, that cold, icy wind goes rushing down your throat and your lungs feel it," said half marathon runner Calvin Henry.
So, Henry's lungs will feel it Sunday when he runs the Aramco Half Marathon in Houston, the same place he received his lungs. Henry is a double lung organ transplant recipient.
"My disease was so progressed that one lung simply would not do it," Henry said. "It would have to be a double lung."
Henry, who completed two full marathons prior to his transplant, received his new lungs at the age of 42 following a diagnosis of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, a terminal illness caused by scleroderma. The procedure was performed at Houston Methodist Hospital in December of 2012. Seven years later, the Atlanta resident purposefully chose Houston for his first race post-transplant in 2019.
"Houston, of course, is always going to have a special place in my heart," Henry, who is now 51, admitted. "It's where I got my second chance at life. So, I wanted to take the opportunity to celebrate it here and see if I could accomplish what I've been training to do."
In addition to finishing that year's half marathon, along with one other in 2020, Henry has also medaled in the World Transplant Games. Sunday's Aramco Houston Half Marathon is part of his buildup to the New York City Marathon in November.
"I've made my medical team believers now," Henry said smiling. "I've always been about hope. Keep the faith. Keep hope. Stay strong. That's the best message I can give. I've been blessed, and I really give all thanks to the generosity of my donor."
With his new lungs and new outlook on life, Henry will be able to see how far he's come on Sunday, and it will certainly not be measured by 13.1 miles.
Visit the Organ Donor website to learn more about how you can become an organ donor and potentially give a gift like Henry received.