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On the Organ Trail

An impulse offer leads a man to launch a mission on two wheels
Published: Oct. 15, 2021 at 6:25 PM EDT
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - For this week’s Feel Good Friday, we have the story of a man who made an impulse offer that he’ll never regret.

On September 19, Mark Scotch left Martha’s Vineyard on a bike. He set out on a life-saving mission, deciding to ride 60 to 70 miles per day, inspired by a chance encounter at a bar near Shreveport, Louisiana. He met a man named Hugh Smith and the pair hit it off. Just before leaving, Smith told Scotch he needed a new kidney, and on a whim, Scotch offered one.

“I read that 13 people die every day because of a lack of transplants. And it just kinda stunned me, and I didn’t realize that was going on,” he recalled.

Though they weren’t compatible, Scotch’s kidney went to a man in New York as part of a voucher program, and that moved Smith up the recipient list; eventually he, too, found a match. To honor the life-saving exchange, just months after his surgery, Scotch rode his bike from his hometown in central Wisconsin to Shreveport, dubbing the ride, “The Organ Trail.”

Now he’s partnered up with the National Kidney Donation Organization (NKDO), taking another 1,600-mile ride, this time leaving from Massachusetts - site of NKDO’s national convention - and heading to his hometown. Scotch expects to arrive October 16, and also says his wife has now decided to donate a kidney; when that happens, he plans to take a third ride on his trusty bike.

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