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James Benjamin's Story

Transplant recipient runs with Olympic torch

Inova Fairfax Hospital is very proud to know James "Jimbo" Benjamin. The Front Royal resident, McDonald's worker and first recipient of a successful double lung transplant at Inova Fairfax Hospital was one of 14,000 runners selected to carry the Olympic torch on its 13,500 mile journey to Salt Lake City, Utah, site of the 2002 Winter Olympics.

James ran with the torch for two-tenths of a mile in Arlington, VA, on a winter's day in December. The day also marked his 37th birthday. Afterwards, he joined other runners for a special White House visit to meet President Bush.

The U.S. Olympic Committee selected "everyday heroes who had overcome Olympic challenges in their daily lives" to carry the Olympic torch, based on nominating letters from family and friends.

From the beginning of his life, James has overcome many hurdles. He was born during a Rubella fever outbreak and is deaf. In 1996, he was the recipient of the first successful double lung transplant performed at Inova Fairfax Hospital. Twice he participated in the Transplant Olympics.

On this momentous day, James was cheered on by his family and friends as he represented well our "everyday heroes."