Six years ago, Ardell Lien was sleeping 18 hours a day. He was so weak he had to crawl up the steps to his bedroom.

Ardell suffered from congestive heart failure, and when his health took a dramatic turn for the worst, he was rushed to a hospital to await a transplant. While waiting, he suffered kidney damage and doctors told him he also needed a new kidney.

He got lucky. He was near death when a donor was found. Doctors at the Mayo Clinic quickly transplanted the organs from a 22-year-old into his failing body.

After recovery, he decided he wanted the entire world to know about the importance of organ donation.

In May 2005, with the odds against him once again, Ardell set out in his 27-foot boat to circumnavigate the globe.

He talked to Growing Bolder about his grueling 17-month journey, what he hopes to accomplish and what he has learned about his donor’s family.