Ochsner Health is a system that delivers health to the people of Louisiana, Mississippi and the Gulf South with a mission to Serve, Heal, Lead, Educate and Innovate.
NEW ORLEANS, La. – Today, cyclist and kidney donor Mark Scotch made his way through the Crescent City as part of a 1,441- mile bicycle ride to raise awareness for living kidney donation. Accompanying Scotch was his wife, Lynn, who donated one of her kidneys just 10 weeks ago, and Matt Cavanaugh, president of the National Kidney Donor Organization. They started the day on the Westbank in Westwego and took a tugboat across the Mississippi River to River Ridge where Scotch then rode eight miles to Ochsner Medical Center to preside over the annual Donate Life flag-raising in honor of National Donate Life Month.
“I’ve been riding my bike all over the country to showcase how healthy and active a living organ donor can be after donation,” said Scotch. “Today, in New Orleans, I had the unique opportunity to add a tugboat ride on the great Mississippi to my journey to make it that much more remarkable. Ending my day by raising the flag at Ochsner’s Transplant Institute was a fitting end to the day to celebrate the work they are doing with transplant donations to save lives.”
Scotch’s visit to New Orleans is timely as April is National Donate Life Month. Each April, living organ donors, organ donor families and recipients, along with transplant centers across the country, like the Ochsner Transplant Institute, raise awareness about the lifesaving gift of organ donation.
“We are grateful for the work of Mark Scotch and his wife Lynn and others like them who have done so much to raise awareness about the urgent need for organ donations. There are more than 100,000 people waiting for an organ transplant in the U.S. It is thanks to selfless donors like Mark and Lynn that we are able to save lives, but the need for more donors continues to grow. The Scotches are truly an inspiration and testament to the full life organ donors can lead after making the noble choice to donate life,” said Ari Cohen, MD, MSc, FRCSC, FACS, Medical Director, Ochsner Transplant Institute.
Scotch’s journey, “The Organ Trail,” has taken him from Lubbock, ,Texas to New Orleans, La., so far. From here, he will continue on to Covington, La. to raise awareness for the urgent need of more donors.
Scotch donated a kidney in 2020 after a chance meeting at Cane River Brewing in Natchitoches, La., with Hugh Smith, a former professional horse jockey in need of a kidney donation. A few months later, Scotch and Smith underwent extensive medical testing and screening to see if Scotch would be a match. They did not match, but Scotch joined the National Kidney Registry Voucher Program and selflessly gave his kidney to someone else on the list in Smith’s name, which prioritized Smith on the National Kidney Registry transplant list. Since then, Scotch has completed three long-distance bike rides, and this will comprise his fourth ride once complete.
Maritime Partners conceived the idea of offering tugboat ride across the Mississippi River as part of Scotch’s journey because owners Austin Sperry and Bick Brooks are supporters for living kidney organ donation. Brooks’ father, Ned Brooks, is a kidney donor and the founder and chairperson of the National Kidney Donation Organization (NKDO).
“The Mississippi River is a central part of our community in New Orleans. It felt fitting to be able to make it part of Mark’s journey on this trip,” said Bick Brooks, co-owner of Maritime Partners. “I see the work that Mark does and also what my father has done to promote kidney donation – the lives it saves and the impact it has. We couldn’t be more proud to be a part of it all.”
About Ochsner Health
Ochsner Health is an integrated healthcare system with a mission to Serve, Heal, Lead, Educate and Innovate. Celebrating 80 years in 2022, it leads nationally in cancer care, cardiology, neurosciences, liver and kidney transplants and pediatrics, among other areas. Ochsner is consistently named both the top hospital and top children's hospital in Louisiana by U.S. News & World Report. The not-for-profit organization is inspiring healthier lives and stronger communities. Its focus is on preventing diseases and providing patient-centered care that is accessible, affordable, convenient and effective. Ochsner Health pioneers new treatments, deploys emerging technologies and performs groundbreaking research, including 4,000 patients enrolled 685 clinical studies in 2022. It has more than 38,000 employees and over 4,600 employed and affiliated physicians in over 90 medical specialties and subspecialties. It operates 48 hospitals and more than 370 health and urgent care centers across Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and the Gulf South; and its cutting-edge Connected Health digital medicine program is caring for patients beyond its walls. In 2022, Ochsner Health treated more than 1.4 million people from every state and 62 countries. As Louisiana's top healthcare educator of physicians, Ochsner Health and its partners educate thousands of healthcare professionals annually. To learn more, visit https://www.ochsner.org/.
About Maritime Partners
Maritime Partners, LLC is a leading provider of maritime financing solutions, specializing in Jones Act trades. With a fleet of 1,800 vessels in service, Maritime Partners, LLC offers tailored leasing services to operators across the full spectrum of credit quality. A privately held company founded in 2015, Maritime Partners, LLC provides the assets that transport the commodities which represent the primary building blocks of the domestic economy, including agricultural products, chemicals, aggregates, crude oil and refined petroleum products. Our management team leverages more than 50 years of operational experience in chartering, asset management, shipbuilding, and financing across all marine asset classes. To learn more about Maritime Partners, LLC please visit maritimepartnersllc.com.