Man in Plover spreads kidney donor awareness on 1,600 mile bike journey

Published: Oct. 14, 2021 at 4:06 PM CDT
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BRILLION, Wis. (WBAY) - For the past three weeks, 65-year-old Mark Scotch has been cycling his way from Martha’s Vineyard to his hometown in Plover for a cause that goes far beyond just being a hobby.

After Mark’s friend, Hugh Smith, told him he was in need of a kidney, he knew he had to do something about it to help.

“I had my surgery in Madison on September 30th of last year. My kidney went to the best fit at the time, which happened to be in New York. Later on I gave Hugh a voucher, and he was able to go to the top of the registry in Jackson, Mississippi, and he got a kidney from California,” said Mark.

Mark says he didn’t have any issues while recovering after donating his kidney. One month later he hopped back on a bike and completed his first full ride again just seven months after surgery.

This led to a 1,600-mile bike ride called “The Organ Trail,” raising awareness for kidney disease and donation.

“When I read that 13 people die every day in this country for lack of kidney transplants, I decided to put these rides together to spread that word and a few other things, mainly about the voucher program; it’s a revolutionary way to donate a kidney,” said Mark.

Mark left Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts on September 19 and headed to New York City, then biked through Ohio, Indiana and Michigan. He will complete his trip on Saturday afternoon in Plover, his hometown.

“I’m trying to demonstrate that even at 65 you can do some pretty strenuous activity and stay active with one kidney,” Mark explained.

He hasn’t been alone on his trip. His wife, Lynn, has been supporting and trailing his journey, as well as many friends, and even strangers joining him along the way.

“I think one of the things I’ve really appreciated too is oftentimes he’ll have people join him who are in need of a kidney and hear their stories, and quite frankly it’s given them a lot of hope,” said Tim Mullen, a friend who joined Mark in Milwaukee on Tuesday.

Mark and Tim left Manitowoc Thursday morning and stopped in Brillion at Freitag Memorial Park before heading to Appleton later Thursday afternoon.

“I’m just glad that I got the opportunity before I got to where my organs weren’t viable for somebody else, like a kidney. The thing is we can donate an organ and help somebody immensely, you could even save their life and live a normal life,” said Mark.

Mark says Hugh is doing amazing now and the two remain very good friends.

People can follow Mark’s journey through his Facebook page and learn more about his mission and kidney donations, by clicking here.

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