The ‘Organ Trail’: Man biking 1,500 miles for organ donation awareness departs from Madison

MADISON, Wis. — A Plover man departed Saturday on an “Organ Trail” bike ride across America to raise awareness for organ donations.

Mark Scotch was in a micro brew pub in Natchitoches, Louisiana, when he met Hugh Smith in early 2020. They became friends and Scotch learned that Smith was waiting for a kidney transplant.

According to Rachel Maske, a volunteer for organ donor causes, including being a board member of Donate Life Wisconsin, Smith was one of many who can benefit from living donors.

“There’s about 120,000 people on the national wait list, the majority are waiting for kidneys,” Maske said.

In the fall of 2020 Mark Scotch donated one of his Kidney’s to Hugh Smith through National Kidney Registry.

To symbolize the journey of his kidney, enjoy a good bike ride, and to raise awareness for organ donations Scotch is biking the 1,500 miles from his home in Wisconsin to Smith’s home in Louisiana.

“Last fall I went from my house in Plover to Madison-that was the first leg- and I did that on two kidneys,” Scotch said. “Then I had my surgery, and waited until winter passed and so we leave Madison this morning and the first stop is going to be Dubuque.”

He plans on following the Mississippi River south from Iowa. He has scheduled for the journey to take just under one month.

“We do want to arrive by the 21st because we are having a big celebration at the brew pub where I met Hugh,” Scotch said.

The route for Scotch’s Organ Trail can be found here.