INTERNATIONAL FALLS, MN. (KBJR 6) – One man from Wisconsin is biking ultra-marathons to raise awareness for kidney disease.
Living kidney donor, Mark Scotch wants to spread the message that donating a kidney doesn’t prevent donors from having an active lifestyle.
In 2021, Scotch started the Organ Trail, a marathon bike campaign that promotes kidney disease awareness, living donor needs and post-donation functionality.
Scotch has biked over 1600 miles so far. His first journey was from Madison, WI, to Natchitoches, LA.
His next quest will be the Arrowhead 135 Ultra Marathon, a 135-mile race that starts in International Falls, MN, and ends in Tower, MN. Competitors typically have to fight through frigid temperatures throughout the race.
Scotch’s journey started in 2020 when he struck up a conversation with a friendly stranger at a bar.
Their talk was cut short when the man told Scotch he had to go home to get on dialysis. The man told Scotch that his kidney failed and he was seeking a donor.
“I said, ‘heck, I can give you one of mine,’” Scotch said. “My sister-in-law donated about 15 years ago, and I never talked to her about it. I knew you could live on one kidney. I didn’t know how well you could live.”
Although Scotch wasn’t a match for his new friend, Hugh, he still donated his kidney and was able to get Hugh prioritized on the transplant list.
Scotch was matched with a compatible individual in New York, and Hugh received his kidney from Southern California.
Both men are healthy and have been able to resume normal lives.
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