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Local women ride for organ re-cycling

Kidney transplant pair to take part in Race Across America
By: Nick Pecoraro, Telegraph Correspondent
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Very few American citizens can say that they’ve had the opportunity to travel across the country. Even fewer will tell you that they have made the cross-country trip via bicycle. Fewer so than that can say that they did it on a bike after undergoing an organ transplant operation. Stacy Baade, co-owner of the It’s A Grind coffeehouse on Blue Ravine Road in Folsom, is part of that select minority. Baade, 34, recently made the trek in the Race Across America (RAAM) from June 18-25 after being a kidney recipient back in September 2008. Baade, a mother of two, discovered after her second pregnancy with her son Tucker that she had Nephrotic syndrome, which is a filtering disorder that causes major leakage of protein in the kidneys. An initial decline in the function of her kidneys happened during her first pregnancy with her daughter Chloe (now 7) and after Tucker (now 3) was born, Baade’s kidney failed entirely. In search of a donor, her husband Eric (Folsom PD) sent out an email blast throughout the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department, encouraging anyone willing to donate to be tested for a potential match. As fate would have it, the Baade’s got a response from within the department in Elizabeth Kelly, a retiree from the Sac-County Sheriff’s Dept. “I responded to (Baade’s) email, I got tested and happened to be a match,” said Kelly, 51, who resides in Folsom with her husband Bill. “Stacy and I had dinner shortly after and we decided to carry out the procedure.” After a successful operation, the two have become close friends and have inspired each other to begin training for marathons. Baade and Kelly both ran in the California International Marathon—which launched out of Folsom and concluded in Sacramento—just 14 months after the transplant. “Not only did (Kelly) give me my life back, she inspired me to become more athletic,” said Baade, who then began raising money for organ donor awareness. “I definitely felt different after the first marathon—like I could do anything.” Stacy and Eric invited the Kelly’s to attend an appreciation dinner for Team Donate Life, a non-profit organization, in August 2010 and from there, the Kelly’s decided that they would join the Baade’s on their eight-person cycling team, “The Organ Re-Cyclers” in the next RAAM in June. The two couples, along with four other teammates, including Stacy’s brother Troy Cooper, completed the near-3000 mile journey from Oceanside, California to Annapolis, Maryland in six days, 16 hours and seven minutes. “I thought the first marathon I ran was the hardest thing I’d ever done, but this was more difficult. It was like a marathon every day,” said Baade, who admittedly never ran or cycled much before the transplant. “Now I look at everything like I can do it. I’m ready to do it again in 2013.” Kelly’s perspective on the accomplishment echoes that of Baade’s. “I think it really changed my life for the better,” she said. “This was a great tool to get the word out about organ donation. I felt like just because I gave my kidney away, it doesn’t mean I’m sickly. I probably never would have done anything like this or seen the places that I saw on this trip if I hadn’t donated.” For more information on RAAM and results from Team Organ Re-Cyclers, visit raceacrossamerica.org. If you’d like to help raise money for organ donor awareness, visit the Baade’s website at http://teamdonatelife.com/riders.asp?ifid76.