Something to celebrate: More than 1,000 AKF grant recipients got transplants this year

Little girl and old man

At this holiday season, as loved ones gather to make memories, we are especially gratified to have helped make more than 1,000 kidney transplants possible so far this year in 45 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. Their holiday gatherings will be infused with an extra dose of thankfulness and joy.

Those 1,000 patients had turned to the American Kidney Fund (AKF) when they were on dialysis and facing the dire financial situation that so often accompanies this disease. Most were unable to work because of their health and the rigorous, exhausting schedule of dialysis that keeps them alive.

By paying their health insurance premiums, we took away some of the financial strain and gave them peace of mind to focus on their health, getting all the medical treatment they needed, and qualifying for the transplant waiting list.

And at some point this year, each of them got the call that nearly 100,000 dialysis patients are waiting for: A matching kidney was available. With post-transplant financial assistance from AKF for their full insurance plan year, they could recover from their surgery and resume the lives they enjoyed before kidney failure upended their world.

When we began helping dialysis patients with the cost of their care nearly 50 years ago, kidney disease was considered a rare condition. Today, 30 million Americans have the disease. Most are unaware of it, and more than half a million Americans depend on dialysis to stay alive. We work every day to help educate the public and prevent kidney disease, but for those patients who already have it, we are here to help.

Our charitable premium assistance is a lifeline for patients, helping them pay for all types of health insurance. It’s coverage that guarantees they can get all the health care they need, including dialysis and, if they qualify and a matching kidney is available, transplant.

While we are grateful that more than 1,000 of our grant recipients have gotten transplants this year, there is much more work to do.

We need more innovation in treatment. We need more kidneys to be donated so we can have more transplants. And we need to protect the vital safety net that AKF provides to patients.

Through our education and outreach programs, and through our nationwide Advocacy Network, we are working every day to make all of those things happen. We invite you to join our nationwide Advocacy Network to ensure that the voices of patients, their loved ones and those who care for them are heard by policymakers in the nation’s capital and in your state.

Happy holidays to you and your loved ones.


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About the Author

LaVarne A. Burton

LaVarne A. Burton is president and chief executive officer of the American Kidney Fund.

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