Local returns from 1,600-mile bike trip; prepares for kidney awareness event
By Taylor Hale
PORTAGE COUNTY – County native Mark Scotch returned from his 1,600 mile Organ Trail bike ride to raise awareness for those in need of kidney transplants on Oct. 16.
The 65-year-old advocate rode from Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts back to his hometown, Plover. While many would see this trek as an insurmountable journey, Scotch simply saw it as a way to bring attention to his cause.
“I didn’t want to make the ride about me, it was about the people who needed a kidney or someone who wanted to help and donate,” Scotch said.
Scotch first learned about the need for kidney and organ transplants during a trip to Natchitoches, Louisiana, where he met a stranger who needed a kidney. Scotch learned that 13 people die every day because of a kidney shortage. He decided he wanted to donate his kidney.
While his kidney was not a match for his newfound friend, it was a match for a person in need living in New York. He donated his organ in September of 2021. After he donated his kidney, he decided to show that donors could still live full and active lives, so he planned a 1,500 mile trip from Madison to Natchitoches, where he first met the man who inspired him to donate.
With two long-distance trips under his belt, Scotch is preparing for his latest event, called KidneyShare: The Gift of Life, slated for Oct. 30 at O’so Brewing in Plover. The educational event is a celebration of Scotch’s impressive trek but also intended to bring light to the fact that kidney donors are needed throughout the states, and that kidney health and maintenance are key factors to preventing kidney disease and failure.
“Eating right and exercising is important,” Scotch said. “Preventative care is really the best cure for the kidney.”
Speaking during the event are Dawn Lyons-Woods, a mother whose daughter Emily, died at 19 from a snowmobile accident, and was a deceased kidney donor; Alison Snortheim, a married 25-year-old mother of two looking for a living kidney donor; and over six others, including Scotch.
To learn more about Scotch’s efforts and trips, visit: theorgantrailhm.wordpress.com.