Cyclist Donates Kidney to Complete Stranger

What started as a conversation at a bar ended up saving a man’s life.

In early 2020, Mark Scotch met Hugh Smith at a brewery in Louisiana. As they were talking, Smith mentioned he had to leave due to medical reasons.

“He said he was on dialysis and in stage five kidney failure,” Scotch said. “I told him, ‘I can give you one of my kidneys.’”

Smith was a professional jockey for 17 years and struggled with pain. He was unaware the pain medicine he was taking would eventually lead to kidney failure. 

Although he was not a match for Smith, Scotch was able to provide his kidney through the “Voucher Donor” program in Sept. 2020. This put Smith at the top of the registry list, and he received his new kidney from another donor in Feb. 2021.

Scotch decided to show the world that you can still live a fulfilling life without a kidney. On April 24, 2021, Scotch started “The Organ Trail” bike ride from Madison, Wisconsin to Natchitoches, Louisiana. His wife followed behind in their car.

The ride ended at the same bar that Smith and Scotch met in 2020. “This is absolutely amazing what he did, and he saved my life,” Smith says.