Press release

Kidney Patients Describe Struggles During Pandemic, Express Gratitude for American Kidney Fund Coronavirus Emergency Fund

Recent corporate and foundation donors to emergency fund making more grants possible for low-income dialysis and transplant patients

ROCKVILLE, Md. (May 1, 2020)  — Weeks into the nationwide lockdown seeking to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19, patients with end-stage renal disease (ESRD, or kidney failure) report continuing struggles to get to treatment, stock up on renal-friendly foods for their restricted diets, and purchase medical necessities. The American Kidney Fund (AKF) Coronavirus Emergency Fund is making emergency grants to patients to help lessen the financial impact, and AKF today gratefully acknowledged gifts from foundations and corporations that are helping to meet the unprecedented number of requests for assistance.

AKF has received generous gifts from corporate donors Apellis Pharmaceuticals, Inc.; Emergent BioSolutions; Interactive Strategies; and Mercury LLC. In addition, the organization has received a grant from the COVID-19 Response Fund, a community fund jointly managed by the San Antonio Area Foundation and the United Way of San Antonio, to assist patients in greater San Antonio. The fund is comprised of nearly 30 caring businesses, donor advised funds, philanthropic foundations and government entities.  All these gifts are helping to replenish AKF's depleted Coronavirus Emergency Fund which has received over 8,000 applications for assistance from patients struggling financially during the crisis with additional requests coming in daily.

In Garner, North Carolina, a dialysis patient who received an AKF Coronavirus Emergency Fund grant told AKF his spouse was out of work during the pandemic: "At this time when everyone is wondering how they are going to survive, this grant has allowed me to put gas in the car and food for my family with a small amount of hope for the future."

A dialysis patient in Roseville, California, said she has been unable to find work during her state's stay-at-home order. "If I was not granted this money I would have missed an entire months' worth of medication," she said. A recently furloughed dialysis patient in Fort Mill, South Carolina, says paying bills has been a challenge. "The funds allowed me to purchase medication that will help sustain my life," she said. "It also enabled me to be able to put gas in my car to drive to the dialysis clinic for lab work, go get groceries and go to the pharmacy."

The AKF Coronavirus Emergency Fund provides a grant of $250 to any U.S. dialysis or recent kidney transplant patient who applies and demonstrates financial need, as funding becomes available. Patients are experiencing financial shocks in many ways, including loss of family income, difficulties in accessing the special foods and supplements required for their renal diet, private transportation to treatment to minimize their risk of exposure, and challenges with paying for medications and needed medical supplies. 100% of every donation to the Coronavirus Emergency Fund goes directly to patients; AKF is covering the cost of grant processing and check distribution to ensure that the maximum number of patients in need receive this lifeline of support they are counting on.

The organization is continuing its urgent appeal to foundations, corporations and individual donors; contributions to the AKF Coronavirus Emergency Fund may be made at

"The stories patients are telling us of their difficulties during this trying time are heartbreaking," said LaVarne A. Burton, AKF president and CEO. "On behalf of these patients, we are so very thankful for each contribution to the AKF Coronavirus Emergency Fund. The recent gifts from Apellis, Emergent BioSolutions, Interactive Strategies, Mercury and the San Antonio COVID-19 Response Fund are a lifeline for these vulnerable Americans and we are deeply grateful for their generosity."

"Dialysis and recent transplant patients are at high risk for serious complications," said Marjie French, CEO of the San Antonio Area Foundation.  "When you layer this threat with the needs of low-income patients during the COVID-19 crisis, one understands intimately why a grant to the American Kidney Fund to support those in our community is a critical need."

Dialysis and transplant patients may get more information about applying for AKF emergency grants from their social workers or transplant coordinators. They may also apply on their own behalf by visiting and filling out a profile in AKF's grants management system. Patients who are already receiving AKF financial assistance may use their existing AKF grants management system profile to apply.

AKF's special webpage,, provides up-to-date information and resources to help patients and families through this challenging period.

AKF is a 4-Star rated charity that is included on Charity Navigator's list of highly rated nonprofits providing emergency assistance in communities. Any individual who would like to make a contribution to the AKF Coronavirus Emergency Fund may donate at

About the American Kidney Fund

The American Kidney Fund (AKF) fights kidney disease on all fronts as the nonprofit with the greatest direct impact on people with kidney disease. AKF works on behalf of 1 in 7 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. AKF fights for kidney health for all through programs that address early detection, disease management, financial assistance, clinical research, innovation and advocacy. AKF is one of the nation’s top-rated nonprofits, investing 97 cents of every donated dollar in programs, and holds the highest 4-Star rating from Charity Navigator for 21 consecutive years and the Platinum Seal of Transparency from Candid, formerly known as GuideStar. 

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