TAWAS CITY – A quadruple organ transplant recipient has finished his seven-day bicycling trip from Mackinaw City to Port Huron, with an overnight stop in East Tawas, in an effort to obtain 25,000 new registered organ donors and donate money to children with medical needs.
Kyle Bailey, 34, of Port Huron, began his bike ride from the Mackinac Bridge on Aug. 4 and competed the journey Saturday at the Blue Water Bridge in Port Huron. He titled the 342-mile ride ReCycle Life 2019 “Bridging the Gap.”
Bailey is the only quadruple organ transplant recipient – double lung, kidney and liver – in Michigan and is believed to be one of about 50 in the United States.
An assistant pro at the Port Huron Elks golf course, Bailey was born with cystic fibrosis and said he struggled with it for years before getting the double lung transplant on June 21, 2011. Just 14 months later, in August 2012, he celebrated by running across the state, from Lexington to Muskegon, in four days to raise awareness of cystic fibrosis and organ donations in Michigan.
However, in February 2016, he was back in the hospital with liver and kidney failure caused by the medicine he had taken for cystic fibrosis before the double lung transplant. Just four days into his hospital stay Bailey was told by medical team that they has found a liver and kidney match for him.
“I asked myself a lot,’ he said. “Why me? Some people wait years and die while on the transplant list. I waited just four days.”
His wait for the double lung transplant was nine months.
Bailey firmly believes the transplants saved his life and is now compelled to give back by promoting organ donation awareness.
“There are many people waiting for an organ – that’s why I’m doing this,” he said.
And this month’s bike ride isn’t his first rodeo. Last year, for three weeks in late April and into May, he biked 1,465 miles from Ann Arbor – the location of the hospital where he received his transplants - to Orlando, Fla.
The Tawas Area Elks Lodge No. 2525, Tawas City, hosted a hamburger night fundraiser for Bailey on Tuesday, Aug. 6.
He started a non-profit foundation that raises money for Gift of Life and to children with disabilities. That address is Kyle Bailey Foundation, P.O. Box 610832, Port Huron, MI 48061.
For those looking to become an organ donor, can register at registerme.org/recyclelife.
And he’s already planning for his next fundraising trip for 2020.