300 miles for organ donor awareness - KALB-TV News Channel 5 & CBS 2

300 miles for organ donor awareness

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ALEXANDRIA, La. (KALB News Channel 5) - April is Organ Donor Awareness Month, and there’s one Cenla man who is taking that very seriously, to the tune of 300 miles. He’s wearing out his walking shoes for one cause and thousands of lives.

Frederick bender is making strides.

"I'm walking to raise organ donor awareness," said Bender. "And green ribbons."

Bender earned his own green ribbon when he gave a kidney to his then-fiancee in 2000.

"I could see her getting worse and worse," he said. "She may not have noticed it, but I did. If you can't do anything about it, that's different, but since I knew I could..."

Now, more than a decade later, he wants to spread the word--not about what he has already done, but about what still needs to be done.

"I learned that someone dies every 18 minutes in this country waiting for an organ transplant," Bender said. "So that's why I plan on walking my entire 3000 miles at an 18-minute mile."

That’s right, Bender is walking 300 miles around Alexandria this month, and 3000 miles cross-country next year. It's to raise awareness about the need, but also to spread the message that donating an organ isn't as scary as it sounds.

"They think for the wrong reasons that they don't want to be an organ donor," said Bender. "It depends on how you look at it. If you look at it that your relative, child, sibling, spouse is going to live on through somebody else, it's much easier. You're giving life to somebody else."

As for Frederick Bender, he’ll be giving life to somebody else a second time.

"What I plan on doing is becoming a living stranger and donating 51% of my liver to whoever's next on the list," said Bender. 

He’s donating his liver for the same reason he donated his kidney, which is the same reason he’s walking hundreds of miles for organ donor awareness.

"Because there's a need," Bender said. "And... Because I can. I guess the simplest answer is 'because I can.'"

If you’d like to cheer Frederick Bender on his walk for awareness, you can see him walking in the evenings by the Alexandria riverfront or around the Masonic traffic circle.  
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