Editor's note: The following release has been corrected with information regarding Rainbow Dialysis Lahaina.
ROCKVILLE, Md. (Aug. 10, 2023) — The American Kidney Fund (AKF) has turned on its Disaster Relief Program to administer emergency grants to dialysis and post-transplant patients who have been impacted by the Maui wildfires, which have killed at least 36 people and destroyed numerous homes and businesses, particularly in Lahaina, Hawaii. AKF's Disaster Relief Program is the nation's sole rapid-response system that provides emergency financial assistance to dialysis and recent transplant patients.
The full extent of the fires and the damage they have caused is yet to be known. Patients who receive treatment in the Lahaina-area facilities, including Rainbow Dialysis Lahaina, are being directed to alternate facilities on the island. Officials estimate more than 11,000 people are without power and thousands are without cell service or internet access due to the fire, which has now been largely contained, but not before damaging or destroying at least 270 structures in Lahaina.
"Our thoughts are with all those who are affected by these destructive wildfires," said LaVarne A. Burton, AKF President and CEO. "In emergency situations like this, in which patients have had to flee their homes, they shouldn't have to worry about how they will afford to continue receiving the lifesaving treatments they need. AKF is ready to quickly provide financial support to dialysis and post-transplant patients who have been impacted by the Maui wildfires."
People with kidney failure are particularly susceptible to difficulties during a natural disaster, as interruptions to dialysis treatments can put them at risk for being hospitalized. AKF has developed a resource page for Maui residents impacted by the fires.
Emergency grants of $200 are now available for dialysis and post-transplant patients in Maui. The grants help patients replace lost medications and renal diet foods, pay for temporary housing and transportation to treatment, and replace clothing and personal essentials lost due to the natural disaster or the need to evacuate with little to no notice.
AKF will monitor the progression of the fires to see if additional areas will be eligible for grants. AKF has also partnered with AdheaRx, which uses AI-powered communication technology, to reach AKF-served patients in affected areas, offering disaster relief resources and encouraging patients to share information about their needs in the wake of the disaster.
AKF has been providing emergency disaster financial assistance to kidney patients throughout all the major disasters that have struck the United States and its territories for the past two decades. Last year, AKF provided nearly $120,000 in disaster relief grants to nearly 500 people with kidney failure who were affected by Hurricane Fiona in Puerto Rico, Hurricane Ian in Florida, wildfires in New Mexico and flooding in Kentucky.
Dialysis and recent kidney transplant patients who need emergency financial help should contact a social worker at their dialysis or transplant clinic for information on applying for aid or apply directly at gms.KidneyFund.org.
About the American Kidney Fund
The American Kidney Fund (AKF) fights kidney disease on all fronts as the nation’s leading kidney nonprofit. AKF works on behalf of the 37 million Americans living with kidney disease, and the millions more at risk, with an unmatched scope of programs that support people wherever they are in their fight against kidney disease—from prevention through transplant. With programs that address early detection, disease management, financial assistance, clinical research, innovation and advocacy, no kidney organization impacts more lives than AKF. One of the nation’s top-rated nonprofits, AKF invests 97 cents of every donated dollar in programs, earning the highest 4-Star rating from Charity Navigator for 20 years in a row as well as the Platinum Seal of Transparency from Candid, formerly GuideStar.