80-year-old donor raises awareness for living kidney donation with one kidney and a 300-mile bicycle trek

2a - Denny Behm

Denny Behm

On September 2, 80-year-old Denny Behm will continue pedaling his “YONOK” message when he departs Iowa City by bicycle for Hennepin Healthcare in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

“YONOK stands for ‘you only need one kidney’ – and I’m living proof!” Behm explains.

Back in 2006 his friend, Rich Dean needed a kidney. Behm did some research and went through testing to see if he could be a match. He was, and he gladly donated a kidney to his friend.

“After seeing how much of an impact this made on Rich’s life, and how it did not physically affect me at all, it has become my life’s passion to encourage others to consider donating their ‘extra’ kidney,” Behm said.

To raise awareness for kidney donation, he’s bicycling from Iowa City to Hennepin Healthcare in Minneapolis where the transplant took place 13 years ago. At that time, the age combination of Dean and Behm was the oldest Hennepin Healthcare’s transplant team had ever done – Behm was 67 and Dean was 78.

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Rich Dean and Denny Behm

“I’ve never missed that kidney – and was so thankful for the opportunity to help my friend. So many others can benefit from receiving a kidney and even if it makes one person think about it and give this gift of life, the ride is totally worth it!”

Rich Dean lived five healthy years with Behm’s kidney; but sadly, he passed away from an injury unrelated to the transplant.

Behm will be joined by a team of supporters on this 300-mile trek who share his enthusiasm for organ donation – including Mark Dean, Rich’s son. While his goal is to encourage others to consider donating their extra kidney, donations in support of his bike ride can go to the Hennepin Healthcare Foundation in memory of Richard Dean. Supporters are also welcome to ride along with the YONOK team at any point of their trek and follow Denny on Facebook.

On Saturday, September 7, 2019 Behm and the YONOK bikers will be cheered on by fans including members of Hennepin Healthcare’s Kidney Transplant team when they arrive at 1pm.

Who:      YONOK (You Only Need One Kidney) Bicycle Team from Iowa City, Iowa
What:     Reception with Hennepin Healthcare Kidney Transplant Program
When:    Saturday, September 7, 2019 – Media may arrive at 12:45pm to catch arrival of bicyclists at 1pm
Where:   Hennepin Healthcare’s Clinic & Specialty Center – 715 S. 8th St. Drive, Mpls.

Hennepin Healthcare Foundation
The Hennepin Healthcare Foundation guides those in the community who wish to support the mission of Hennepin Healthcare to provide the best possible care to every patient, search for new ways to improve care, educate health care providers, and ensure access to healthcare for all.

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