Living kidney donor bikes hundreds of miles to raise awareness
Mark Scotch began the journey in Wisconsin and bikes about 75 to 80 miles a day
JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Each day in this country, 13 people die waiting for a kidney transplant.
A Wisconsin man decided to become a living donor and is now traveling by bicycle across the country to spread awareness. We caught up with him in Flowood Wednesday at the Mississippi Organ Recovery Agency as he makes his way to Louisiana.
With each roll of his bicycle wheel, 64-year-old Mark Scotch from Plover, Wisconsin is hoping to help save a life.
Scotch said, “I like to ride bicycles long distance so we just decided to ride bicycles from Wisconsin to Louisiana along the Mississippi River and along the way just try to talk to as many people as we could about the need for living donors.”
In late 2020 Scotch became a living donor. He donated a healthy kidney through the National Kidney Registry.
As a result of his donation, 56-year-old Hugh Smith of Louisiana, who was in severe renal failure since 2019, has a successful kidney transplant at UMMC in Jackson.
Scotch said, “I wanted to demonstrate that a person can donate a kidney and go back to a rather strenuous physical lifestyle.”
Smith had the transplant surgery in February. He spent decades as a jockey. His kidneys failed, damaged by large quantities of ibuprofen he took to fight pain.
“I mean, they’re on dialysis every day or every other day. Their whole life has been structured around that whole situation. They’re ill. Some are gonna die so I really don’t look at it from my perspective. I mean, I’m living a pretty comfortable life compared to what they have,” Scotch said.
To help others, Scotch begins his journey by bicycle in April. He has moved through nine states and made the stop Wednesday at MORA, the Mississippi Organ Recovery Agency in Flowood.
“I’ve ridden close to 1,300 miles. I’ve had three days off in not quite three weeks. So I’ve been riding about 75, 80 miles per day.”
Scotch says his sister-in-law is also a living donor. He says knowing that nearly 100 thousand people are currently waiting for lifesaving kidney transplants and 13 die daily because of a shortage is all the inspiration he needs.
“My goal is to just find one or two more people that are willing to help save a life or two.”
Each month 3,000 new patients are added to the kidney waiting list.
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