Why help dialysis patients during natural disasters?

Hurricane Harvey slammed into Texas as a category 4 hurricane and then stalled, dumping trillions of gallons of water and flooding low-lying areas along the Gulf Coast and around Greater Houston before moving on to Louisiana.

Millions of people have been affected . . . and among them are thousands of dialysis patients for whom a natural disaster like this is quite literally a matter of life and death.

The American Kidney Fund’s Disaster Relief Program was designed with just such a catastrophe in mind, and in less than two weeks since Harvey struck we have been able to help 340 patients with nearly $80,000 in emergency grants. The requests for help keep coming; this disaster is far from over.

Dialysis patients are especially vulnerable during a natural disaster like Harvey. Because dialysis is a life-sustaining treatment, it can’t simply be postponed. With many dialysis clinics closed due to flooding, patients are scrambling to find open clinics or hospitals where they can get their treatments. Many have had to leave their homes to find temporary shelter. Their situation is dire.

Our Disaster Relief Program is the only rapid-response system that provides emergency assistance to dialysis patients when disaster strikes their communities. Our grants help patients replace medications, food and household items, and pay for essentials such as the cost of fuel or transportation to medical appointments and other vital emergency needs.

Of the emergency grants we’ve given so far, half of the funds went toward replacement of clothing and household items for patients who have been devastated in this disaster. Another one-quarter of our assistance allowed patients to buy the foods needed for their special renal diets along with urgently needed medications. And a quarter of the funding was used to help pay for transportation to dialysis and temporary housing. Funds for this program come from generous donations from individuals, organizations and corporations.

If you’ve donated to AKF’s Disaster Relief Program in the past week, please know this: We have already sent your generous gift to a dialysis patient in need. We are grateful to everyone who has contributed, but requests for our help are outpacing donations.

100% of all donations to this program go directly to dialysis patients affected by the hurricane. The American Kidney Fund is on Charity Navigator’s list of highly rated charities helping with disaster relief, and we have been included in lists published by leading media organizations including The New York Times, USA Today and National Public Radio.

You can make a donation to help dialysis patients affected by Harvey and Irma here.

Mike Spigler is the American Kidney Fund’s Vice President of Patient Services and Kidney Disease Education.

Posted: | Author: Mike Spigler

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