Health

Kidney Donor Rides Cross-Country to Raise Awareness

Mark Scotch hopes people see how it's possible to live active lives after donating a life-saving organ.

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An organ donor is biking around the United States to convince others to follow in his footsteps.

Mark Scotch is a living organ donor and travels around the U.S. riding his bicycle to raise awareness for organ donation.

Scotch donated his kidney and is showing the world you can still have an active life after being an organ donor.

It's the kind of retirement Scotch wasn't expecting.

"I was kind of wondering what I was going to do in my retirement. This wasn't on the list. I tell you that right now," said Scotch.

A chance encounter with a stranger at a bar changed that.

Early in 2020, the 64-year-old from Wisconsin said he met a man who was on the waitlist for a kidney transplant.

"He said he had to go home and go on dialysis and he said he goes on dialysis every night for ten hours. His kidneys had failed as a stage five renal failure. He kind of said, 'I'm kind of looking for a kidney,' and I instantly said, 'You can have one of mine,'" Scotch said.

He made good on that promise and since then, has journeyed across the United States to teach others about organ donation.

He calls it the Organ Trail, mapping his routes based on where a life was saved thanks to a donated kidney.

He documents his journeys on his website.

Most recently, he was in Fort Worth, where a transplant surgeon and the president of Baylor Scott & White All Saints Medical Center - Fort Worth rode alongside him.

Scotch says his mission is to prove that kidney donors can return to their previous level of activity and good health, functioning only on a single kidney, even if that includes vigorously sustained activities.

"I want to demonstrate that you can, as a donor, live a normal life after donation," said Scotch.

According to the National Kidney Foundation, 13 people die each day while waiting for a life-saving kidney transplant.

"I just say if we can save one person's life, it doesn't sound like much until you're that one person," said Scotch.

Right now, he's biking from Lubbock to Louisiana on this trip and he's planning to visit other hospitals as he rides through North Texas.

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