BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) — Completing a month-long run, bicyclist and organ donor, Mark Scotch, has a mission to bring awareness to living life after organ donation. On Tuesday, he made a stop in Baton Rouge during his 1,500 mile kidney donation awareness ride, “The Organ Trail.”
The bike stop and celebration happened at the Louisiana State University campus with support from the Louisiana Organ Procurement Agency and LSU student organizations.
So how did the idea for the trail come to life?
Scotch says he became an organ donor after a conversation with someone he met who needed an organ. “I was just talking to this guy named Hue Smith and he got up to leave and said he needed to go home and go on dialysis. He said he was looking for a kidney and I said, ‘I’ll give you one of mine,’” Scotch recalls. “I thought, ‘why not help this guy,’ and turns out I could.”
After learning about being an organ donor, and committing to the process, Scotch gave his kidney, he says.
Scotch said his specific organ didn’t go to Smith but through the National Kidney Registry Voucher (NKRV) program, he was able to give Smith a voucher and allow him to get a kidney from someone who was more compatible.
Post organ donation, Scotch saw the impact of donating his kidney, and wanted to do more.
“After that, I decided to ride my bicycle all across the United States to demonstrate that a person can donate a kidney and still live a normal life,” he said.
As he trail blazes along what he dubbed, The Organ Trail, Scotch not only is showing off his health after donating but wants to bring awareness to the need of organ donors.
“Not everybody can be a donor but if everybody learns a little bit more about the urgent needs, we can at least help to advocate for the people that do need a kidney,” he said.
Along with Mark, his wife Lynn, is also an organ donor. By his side, she stated that her donating process was not as easy, but encourages others to be donors.
“We just know that if more people also learn those things that it’s going to create more living donors because it is something that you can do with very little change to your own life,” she said.
Besides stopping in Baton Rouge, Scotch said he stopped in other cities like Dallas, Austin, San Antonio, and Galveston, Texas.
To keep up with Scotch’s journey, go to www.markscotch.com.