American Kidney Fund’s Disaster Relief Effort Surpasses $500,000, Helping Dialysis Patients Affected by Maria, Irma and Harvey
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
2,400 patients in 7 states and U.S. territories assisted to date with emergency grants
ROCKVILLE, Maryland (October 12, 2017)—The unprecedented back-to-back major hurricanes Maria, Irma and Harvey have created a tremendous need for financial assistance for affected dialysis patients. The nonprofit American Kidney Fund (AKF) today announced it has provided over $500,000 in emergency grants to more than 2,400 dialysis patients since Harvey made landfall in Texas August 25.
The amount eclipses, by far, assistance provided by AKF after Hurricane Katrina’s widespread devastation in 2005. For that storm, which had been AKF’s largest disaster relief effort to date, the organization provided $260,000 in grants to assist dialysis patients.
Dialysis patients are particularly vulnerable after natural disasters. Even when faced with evacuations, property losses, power outages and other effects of the storms, they must still find a way to receive their life-sustaining dialysis treatments. Harvey’s widespread flooding caused many patients to lose all their possessions and find temporary, alternate places to live; Irma’s widespread power outages meant many patients lost their refrigerated medications and food for their specialized renal diets. Maria’s devastation of road, power, water and communications infrastructure in Puerto Rico has created significant logistical challenges for patients and dialysis centers alike, disrupting mobility and making it difficult to get supplies.
“As the infrastructure in Puerto Rico slowly begins to recover from Maria’s effects, we are preparing for an influx of requests for emergency assistance from dialysis patients there who have suffered extreme hardship,” said LaVarne A. Burton, AKF president and CEO. “The scale of devastation and need is far beyond what we have ever seen before, and it is our goal to be able to provide disaster relief assistance to every dialysis patient who needs it.”
Burton said the organization continues to receive a steady stream of requests for assistance from patients affected by Irma and Harvey, and is processing most requests within one business day. AKF’s program plays a vital role in complementing the efforts of the Kidney Community Emergency Response (KCER) Coalition by offering grants to patients who need assistance for a variety of needs such as medications, food, emergency housing, clothing and transportation to dialysis. AKF is working with members of KCER to monitor and assess patient needs in Puerto Rico.
AKF’s Disaster Relief Program is the nation’s only rapid-response charitable assistance program that is dedicated to quickly and effectively meeting the needs of dialysis patients who experience natural disasters. So far this year, AKF has raised $353,000 for disaster relief from a combination of generous donations from individuals, employee/member giving campaigns, and corporations, foundations and associations, and is supplementing the fund with its own resources. The organization continues to fundraise for its Disaster Relief Program to make up the shortfall between funds contributed and funds disbursed, and allocates 100% of all donations to the program to provide assistance to patients. Charity Navigator has included AKF on its list of highly rated charities that are providing aid to survivors of Maria, Irma and Harvey, and AKF has been cited by National Public Radio, the New York Times and USA Today as a trusted source of disaster relief for dialysis patients.
Major support for AKF’s Disaster Relief Program has been provided by:
- Akebia Therapeutics, Inc.
- Alliant Health Solutions
- Amgen Foundation
- American Renal Associates
- American Medical Technologists
- American Society of Nephrology
- American Society of Pediatric Nephrology
- DaVita Healthcare Partners
- Dialysis Clinic, Inc.
- Fresenius Medical Care
- Keryx Biopharmaceuticals
- National Renal Administrators Association
- OPKO Renal
- Relypsa, Inc.
- UBS Financial Services
- U.S. Renal Care
- UVA Medical Center
Individuals or organizations wishing to contribute to AKF’s Disaster Relief Program may visit kidneyfund.org/hurricane, where they may designate whether their contribution should go to relief for Maria, Irma or Harvey, or the area of greatest need. One hundred percent of contributions are going to dialysis patients affected by the hurricanes.
Any dialysis patient affected by the recent hurricanes who needs emergency assistance may speak to the social worker at their dialysis clinic for information on how to apply for help from AKF, or may call AKF at 1.800.795.3226 for information.
AKF’s website is providing information resources for dialysis patients in the aftermath of the storms, including a list of dialysis clinic hotlines; links to FEMA and Red Cross resources; and information about finding open pharmacies and other resources. Patients may find this information at www.kidneyfund.org/disaster-relief-resources.
About the American Kidney Fund
As the nation’s leading nonprofit working on behalf of the 30 million Americans with kidney disease, the American Kidney Fund is dedicated to ensuring that every kidney patient has access to health care, and that every person at risk for kidney disease is empowered to prevent it. AKF provides a complete spectrum of programs and services: prevention outreach, top-rated health educational resources, and direct financial assistance enabling 1 in 5 U.S. dialysis patients to access lifesaving medical care, including dialysis and transplantation. AKF’s Disaster Relief Program has been a lifeline of critically needed assistance for dialysis patients for many years, helping people in the aftermath of the nation’s most devastating disasters, including Hurricanes Katrina, Ike, Sandy, Matthew and many more.
AKF holds the highest ratings from the nation’s charity watchdog groups, including Charity Navigator, which includes AKF on its “top 10” list of nonprofits with the longest track records of outstanding stewardship of the donated dollar.