Lehigh Valley

Martins Creek couple dancing their way into Transplant Games

Albert and Vicki Piccotti both received organs.

LOWER MOUNT BETHEL TOWNSHIP, Pa. - Albert and Vicki Piccotti of Martins Creek are new to the ballroom dancing scene.

"Our instructor told us the first night we got there that anything that goes wrong is my fault," said Albert Piccotti.

But after three months of lessons, the two are dancing their way to a competition in Salt Lake City, Utah.

"He said, you have to wear high heels I said I don't wear high heels," said Vicki Piccotti.

But Vicki's making an exception, lacing up a pair of bedazzled red heels to dance in the Transplant Games, an Olympic-style competition for recipients and living donors of all ages.

The competition will be a first for the pair who knows all too well what it means to get a second chance.

"You don't meet too many couples that are both recipients," said Albert Piccotti.

Vicki is a cornea transplant recipient and Albert recently received a tissue graft to complete his shoulder reconstruction.

"It's just amazing," said Vicki Piccotti.

"It really gives you a second shot at life and the games are all about the fact that transplantation works and you see these people on the street and you'd never know," said Albert Piccotti.

After 48 years of marriage, two transplants and multiple surgeries, Albert and Vicki have been through a lot together but they say learning to ballroom dance has connected them on a deeper level.

"It's opened up a whole new line of communication, when you're moving around the house or whatever you can talk about what's going on, when you're dancing you can't do that," said Albert Piccotti.

Albert and Vicki practice their routine every day in their dining room to the song  "Heaven in your Eyes."

The ballroom newbies are hoping to take home the gold at the Transplant Games but say the chance to raise awareness of the urgent need of organ and tissue donation is the real honor.

"There are too many on lists waiting for organs," said Vicki Piccotti.

With new shoes and a new outlook on life, the Piccottis fly out to Salt Lake City on Thursday and compete Friday morning, representing Team Philadelphia.

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