When Elaine lost her first kidney transplant a few years ago, she also lost her longtime job and her home. In despair, she never thought her life would turn around.
But today, she is the recipient of a second kidney transplant, lives in her own home, and works with dialysis patients as a Patient Services Advocate at the University of Kentucky Transplant Center.
Elaine’s life turned around thanks in large part to grants from the American Kidney Fund (AKF).
In 2007, Elaine received a kidney transplant after suffering from kidney disease since childhood, but the transplant was unsuccessful due to a rare viral infection that Elaine contracted. Like more than 450,000 other Americans, Elaine had to have dialysis treatment three times a week, four hours at a time, to survive. The demands of her treatment made it nearly impossible to hold down her full-time career as a radiographer and she was forced to go on disability.
Losing her income meant that Elaine could no longer afford her home. She and her daughter moved in with Elaine’s mother. Although she was fortunate to have a place to go, Elaine had always provided for her daughter and felt helpless and embarrassed to be once again dependent on her own mother. Elaine’s job loss also meant that she had no way to pay her health insurance premiums.
Like tens of thousands of patients do each year, Elaine submitted a grant request to the American Kidney Fund for financial help. Founded in 1971 to help one person afford the cost of dialysis, AKF today is the nation’s leading nonprofit serving people with and at-risk for kidney disease. AKF’s patient grant programs help about 1 out of every 5 U.S. low-income dialysis patients annually.
AKF began paying Elaine’s insurance premiums so that she could maintain her coverage. With AKF lifting this huge financial burden from her shoulders, she was able to concentrate on the things that really mattered: her physical health and her daughter, who earned a scholarship to attend Harvard University. Elaine visited her daughter at school frequently, scheduling her dialysis in Boston, rather than Kentucky.
And in 2012, she had a successful kidney transplant after three years on dialysis. Her daughter’s college graduation was scheduled for right before the transplant, but nothing could have stopped Elaine from watching her daughter receive her diploma.
Elaine’s experience inspired her to go into a new career. She’s at the University of Kentucky helping patients on dialysis navigate the many challenges of obtaining kidney transplants.
Elaine is grateful to the American Kidney Fund for helping her family and has become a passionate advocate for AKF’s national programs. She has become an AKF Kidney Health Educator so she can teach others in her community about kidney health, and she has traveled to Capitol Hill as an AKF Advocate to speak out for policy issues that matter to kidney patients.
AKF fights for people like Elaine, but we can’t do it without help from supporters like you. Help AKF fight kidney disease. Donate now!