ROCKVILLE, Md. (Aug. 30, 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 Hurricane Idalia, a Category 3 hurricane that made landfall near Keaton Beach, Florida this morning. AKF's Disaster Relief Program is the nation's sole rapid-response system that provides emergency financial assistance to dialysis and recent transplant patients.
At least 28 counties in Florida issued evacuation orders for residents in coastal and low-lying areas as well as those in mobile or manufactured homes ahead of Hurricane Idalia's arrival. Experts are predicting the hurricane could cause a dangerous storm surge with water levels rising to up to 16 feet. Already, water levels have reached record highs in some areas of Florida's Gulf Coast, which has not faced a hurricane of this strength in decades. As of Wednesday afternoon, nearly 300,000 homes and businesses were without power, and tornado watches are expected to continue throughout the day.
"Our thoughts are with all those who have already been affected by Hurricane Idalia's destructive forces and those who are bracing for its arrival," said LaVarne A. Burton, AKF President and CEO. "Evacuating your home during a sudden emergency is a scary situation in any circumstance but becomes even more stressful when you are living with a chronic illness like kidney disease. With AKF's disaster relief grants, we hope it eliminates some worry about how patients will afford their lifesaving treatments."
Emergency grants of $200 are now available for dialysis and post-transplant patients living in the following counties: Alachua, Baker, Citrus, Dixie, Franklin, Gilchrist, Gulf, Hamilton, Hernando, Hillsborough, Jefferson, Lafayette, Leon, Levy, Madison, Manatee, Marion, Nassau, Pasco, Pinellas, Putnam, Sarasota, Sumter, Suwannee, Taylor, Union, Volusia and Wakulla. AKF will monitor the progression and path of Hurricane Idalia to see if additional areas will be eligible for grants.
Disaster relief 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.
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 patients impacted by Hurricane Idalia.
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 three 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.
To donate in support of AKF's disaster relief to patients affected by Hurricane Idalia, visit AKF's website. AKF covers the administrative costs of this program so that 100% of donations may go directly to patients in need.
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.