HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WJTV) — In a little over a month, former Southern Miss professor Denny Behm will begin a 300 mile charity bike ride with just one goal in mind.
“We’re riding to promote living kidney donor awareness, and we’re calling our ride, ‘YONOK’ which stands for You Only Need One Kidney,” said Behm.
But before we can talk about this ride, you have to know how Behm got here.
13 years ago Behm’s good friend Rich found out he was in need of a kidney transplant. With Rich on the wait list and no other suitable donors, Behm stepped up.
“So I went to my doctor, Dr. Brian Badson, and asked him what he thought. And he thought I was in good enough health to be a donor. He called Hennepin County, told them to OK me and they sent me the materials and all of the guidelines, and it turned out that I was a perfect match for my friend Rich,” said Behm.
Fast forward to today, and Behm is about to embark on the ride of his life.
“It’s been 13 years, I’m about to turn 80, I have no ill health effects. And to prove it I’m going to ride from Iowa City with Megan and three of my former french horn students, from Iowa City, Iowa, to Minneapolis. A distance of 300 miles,” said Behm.
Behm is pushing for a new cause. This ride is to raise money for another friend of Behm’s, Navy veteran Barry Presley, who lives in Atlanta and has been on dialysis for the last six years while he awaits a transplant. With Behm no longer having a kidney to give, he’s doing whatever he can to help.
“He’s 40 years old, he’s got two great kids, he’s a great guy, great family. We’re riding not only to help them financially; we have a GoFundMe set up under Barry Presley. But we’re riding to try and find this man a kidney,” said Behm.
Behm and his team are riding from Iowa City, where Rich lived, to Minneapolis, where he had his kidney transplant surgery. He will begin his journey on September 1st.