Update: AKF has now provided emergency disaster aid to 760 dialysis patients
The worst moments often bring out the best in people. Hundreds of people and organizations who care about dialysis patients suffering in the paths of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma have given generously to support these vulnerable people whose lives have been turned upside down.
A couple of days after Harvey struck, we started receiving requests for help. As we now know, both Harvey and Irma left unprecedented devastation, suffering and loss. Thousands of dialysis patients have been displaced, and may have lost everything. As of today, AKF has sent $173,075 in emergency aid to 760 patients who are in great need. We have just begun to receive requests for help from patients in Florida.
I witnessed the direct impact of AKF’s Disaster Relief Program this week when I was part of a small team from AKF that traveled to Houston to assess needs and check on patients we have helped. One of them was Roberta, whose neighborhood experienced catastrophic flooding.
Roberta is new to kidney failure, having just started dialysis last fall. As Harvey’s massive rainfall overwhelmed the Houston area’s storm drainage systems and rushed into her neighborhood, Roberta’s husband woke her at 2:30 a.m. with the news that floodwaters were quickly entering their home. It was the first time their home had flooded in the decades they lived there. She had time only to grab her medicine and a few items of clothing. She went downstairs to find three feet of water in her living room and water up to her neck outside her front door. She and her husband evacuated by boat, but they lost everything. With help from the American Kidney Fund's Disaster Relief grant funded by generous donors, Roberta is determined to rebuild her life.
Next week, we’ll share with you more of Roberta’s story, along with the stories of other dialysis patients who are living through this catastrophe.