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Man in Plover donates kidney to stranger, bikes to raise awareness

Published: Sep. 19, 2020 at 6:19 PM CDT
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PLOVER, Wis. (WSAW) - A conversation sparked between two strangers in Louisiana led to one of them offering the other his kidney. Saturday, that man, who is from Plover, is beginning his journey of kidney donation.

When Mark Scotch heard one man’s struggle with kidney failure, his reaction was to offer one of his own to help. His determination to get others to donate an organ is taking him thousands of miles on his bike.

“Ran into him, got talking with him, and found out he needed a kidney. Out of the blue, I just said, I would give him one of mine,” Scotch said.

It’s a promise few can say they’d make to a stranger. Turns out, Scotch’s kidney isn’t a match for that man, but he’s still donating it to someone in need because it will help his now-friend in Louisiana. He’s set to get surgery on September 30th.

“That will put him at a higher rating down in Jackson,” Scotch said.

Through a voucher system, Scotch’s donation will get his friend higher on the list to receive a kidney.

“Doctors told him he would probably never make it to the top of the list to get a kidney,” he said, noting that despite being on dialysis, his recipient’s health is stable, likely meaning he’d sit waiting on the list.

Scotch’s gears turned on another way to help. Over two days this weekend, he’s biking to surgery in Madison, using his athletic talent to raise awareness.

“We want to spread awareness about the lack of donors,” he said.

A hundred miles on the bike and a kidney isn’t where he stops.

He says his oldest son had concerns about what his health would look like after the procedure.

“'Are you going to be able to bike and ski and do all the stuff you used to do on one kidney?' And I couldn’t answer that question,” he said.

Next May, Scotch plans to answer yes, biking all the way to his now-friend in Louisiana. He’s calling it the Organ Trail.

He did some research and found out many people recover from organ donation and are able to go back to an athletic lifestyle.

“That’s what I want to do from Madison to Louisiana, is prove that you can do it on one kidney, and just prove that it can be done, to try to get other people to consider this,” he said.

On his two-day ride to Madison starting Saturday, Scotch is stopping first at the Legacy Garden at Central Wisconsin Gift of life, then raising awareness about Restoring Hope Transplant House in Middleton. It houses the families of people getting transplants in Madison.

Copyright 2020 WSAW. All rights reserved.

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