NKR-Sponsored Kidney Donor Athletes to Run Philadelphia Marathon to Raise Awareness About Living Kidney Donation

Updated on November 15, 2023

Kidney donor athletes Matt Cavanaugh and Hilary Baude are gearing up for one of the last marathons of their 1K12M (One Kidney, 12 Marathons) challenge, the Philadelphia Marathon on November 19, 2023. 

1K12M is a full-year challenge sponsored by the National Kidney Registry, in which Cavanaugh and Baude will participate in 12 marathons throughout 2023 across the United States.

“Having just finished a tough stretch of four marathons in 29 days, Philly is exactly where I want to be on November 19,” said Cavanaugh. “It will be my 11th marathon of the year—all 10 so far have been sub-3 hours—and Philly may just be my fastest. When I get to those last few miles, I know I’ll need all that brotherly-love-and-Rocky spirit that this great city is known for!”

“With the Philly Marathon, the 1K12M challenge comes full circle for me,” said Baude. “I’m returning to my home state to complete my twelfth 2023 marathon, and it’s the perfect ending to an incredible year! This will be my third time running the Philadelphia Marathon and I am thrilled to be back here in my Pennsylvania home to celebrate completing the 1K12M challenge while continuing to raise awareness that you can ‘run on one’ (kidney)!”

The University of Pennsylvania has been a staunch supporter of 1K12M and is the supporting transplant center for the Philadelphia race.

“We at Penn Center for Living Donation are honored to support the 1K12M initiative to raise awareness about living donation,” said Mary Cate Wilhelm, a Physician Assistant with Penn’s transplant team. “The need for organ donors is far greater than the number of people that donate. More than 11 people die each day while waiting for a kidney transplant. We have the solution within us. We are all born with a spare kidney, and we can live—and run—on ONE. If everyone running this weekend considered donation, we could save thousands of lives.”

“It’s not often that someone gets to save a life, but over 125 living kidney and liver donors did so in the last year at Penn’s Center for Living Donation,” Wilhelm continued. “We are proud to cheer on our 29 patients and staff running this weekend including living kidney donors, kidney transplant recipients, and one dual organ (liver and kidney) donor.”

So far, Cavanaugh and Baude have run marathons in Atlanta, Los Angeles, Salt Lake City, Cincinnati, Denver, San Diego, San Francisco, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Hartford, Washington, D.C., and New York City.

Baude also participated in the Ironman Mont Tremblant in Quebec, Canada, and became the first living donor in history to qualify for the Ironman World Championship in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, which she completed on October 14. After the Philadelphia race, Cavanaugh will wrap up his challenge with the Honolulu Marathon.

For more information on the 1K12M challenge, visit the Donor Games website.

About Matt Cavanaugh

Matt Cavanaugh, PhD, is a retiring US military officer who serves as the President of the National Kidney Donor Organization. He twice earned the Bronze Star Medal, as well as the Combat Action Badge, for his service in Iraq. Matt donated his left kidney on September 15, 2021, to a stranger and started a donation chain.

About Hilary Baude

Hilary Baude is a kindergarten teacher who donated her kidney to a stranger in May of 2021 and is now an active member of the National Kidney Donation Organization. Hilary was an NCAA Division 1 swimmer and has run more than 20 marathons to date. She competed in her first Ironman in 2022, placing third in her age group.

About the National Kidney Registry

The National Kidney Registry (www.kidneyregistry.org) is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to save and improve the lives of people facing kidney failure by increasing the quality, speed, and number of living donor transplants while protecting all living donors.

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