Retired USM professor gears up for ride to promote kidney donation

Retired USM professor gears up for ride to promote kidney donation

HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) - Thirteen years ago, then 69-year-old Denny Behm donated a kidney to a very close friend.

"It was something that I hadn’t planned on doing. In fact, I really didn’t know it was possible, but my friend was suffering kidney failure. We happened to be a match. So, I went up to Minneapolis with him and got the transplant,” said Behm.

Behm, now 80 years old, has organized a bicycle ride to honor his friend, who died not long ago, as well as others who have donated kidneys.

"We are calling this ride YONOK, which stand for ‘You Only Need One Kidney’ so share your spare. Hopefully we will raise awareness about kidney donation, live kidney donation,” said Behm.

The ride will start in Iowa City, Iowa on Monday, and the riders will make the more than 300-mile journey to Minneapolis, Minn. for the cause.

"There 110,000 people on the transplant waiting list right now. There are probably 450,000 people in this country with end stage renal disease. So, it’s a real need for people to consider kidney donation,” said Behm.

Meagan Wilkinson is one of the riders for this journey. She says joining the team was a no brainier for her.

"Denny is an incredible person who has obviously done an incredible feat by donating a kidney to a friend. That was a no-brainer decision for him. So, when I had the availability in my schedule to take an opportunity to support him, it was an easy decision for me,” said Wilkinson.

There are several other riders who will be meeting up with Behm once in Iowa City.

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