Scooting 4Donors was created by Matt Schneider. I have received 4 kidney transplants, which means I have had four people selflessly give up one of their organs to keep me alive. My first donor was my mother, Susan, on August 26, 1987. Seven years later, on October 6, 1994, I received my second kidney from my father, Kevin. Almost 5 years later, to the day, on October 7, 1999, my brother Kevin, gave me his kidney. Miraculously, I received a fourth kidney from a special angel from California on February 24, 2016. These four amazing people are the reason I am taking this trip. There are many, many more people involved in my story, but without my four donors the story would have ended very quickly.
I was born with Eagle-Barrett Syndrome. It is a disease that affects your kidneys, sometimes your bones and other parts of your body. When I was born, the doctors said I wouldn’t live long. I didn’t listen! My kidney function was never very good, but they worked enough to let me live a “normal” childhood, going to school, playing with friends and the occasional hospital visit. When I was 10-years-old we found out I needed a kidney transplant. After going on dialysis for a few months, my transplant journey began a few months after I turned 11.
Because of my transplants, I have been a part of an amazing community of transplant recipients, patients waiting for organ transplants and people living their lives on dialysis. I was a camper, and now volunteer, at a camp for children with kidney disease and organ transplants. I have been a member of Team Georgia and Team USA for the Transplant Games of America and World Transplant Games. I have sat with people while they were stuck on a dialysis machine and I was free with a working kidney. I have lost many friends who were either waiting for a life saving organ or from complications from waiting too long. I am doing this cross-country trip for them and others like them.
There are 116,000+ patients on the transplant waiting list. Roughly 42% of the United States population are registered organ donors. I want to reach out the other 48%. I know 100% of the population is impossible, but why not 50%? 60%? 75%?? The more people who are registered to be donors, the better chance those 116,000+ patients have of living. I plan on crossing 15 states and 5,000+ miles to show people that transplantation works!
When I was about 7 years old, I watched a movie called The Terry Fox Story. It’s a true story about a man who loses his leg to cancer and then runs across Canada to raise money for cancer research. That movie has stuck in my head for 30 years. I want to help people who need life saving organs! Unfortunately, due to Eagle Barrett’s, both of my hips are dislocated. I can’t walk 200 yards, let alone across the country. That will not stop me! I will be driving a mobility scooter across America. I will visit my transplant centers. I will try to see the doctors who saved my life. I will share my story across the country. I will help those 116,000+ patients on the list!