Kidney donor bikes 1500 miles to reunite with Natchitoches man whose life he saved

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NATCHITOCHES, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – The Wisconsin man who donated a kidney to a Natchitoches man three years ago is expected to arrive in Natchitoches Monday, weather permitting.

Mark Scotch

Mark Scotch who donated a kidney to Hugh Smith in 2020 is coming by bicycle – when he arrives, he will have completed a 1,500-mile ride that began in Madison, Wisc. To promote kidney health and living donor awareness.

The 64-year-old Scotch’s donation of a kidney to Smith, who had received 10-hours of dialysis a day since 2019 and was in Stage 5 renal failure, saved Smith’s life.

The two men met last year at Cane River Brewing in Natchitoches. Their quickly-formed friendship resulted in Scotch donating his kidney through a “Voucher Donor” program.

Scotch’s actual kidney went to a person in New York in Smith’s name, enabling Smith to be moved up the transplant list — a process that might otherwise have taken years.

As a lifelong biker, Scotch decided that a bike marathon from his home in the north, traveling along the Mississippi River to Hugh’s home in the south, would be the ideal way to celebrate the donation that will forever link the two men together.

Nearly 110,000 persons are currently on the waiting list for kidney transplants, and each month 3,000 new patients are added to that list. Donations are powerful and will help lower the current number of 13 people who die every day because of a shortage of transplants.

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