The nonprofit American Kidney Fund has provided more than $500,000 in emergency grants to more than 2,400 dialysis patients affected by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria, since Harvey made landfall in Texas Aug. 25. The amount is almost double the assistance AKF provided after Hurricane Katrina. For that storm, which had been AKF’s largest disaster relief effort to date, the organization provided $260,000 in grants to assist dialysis patients
Harvey’s widespread flooding caused many patients to lose all their possessions and find temporary, alternate places to live. Irma’s widespread power outages meant many patients lost their refrigerated medications and food for their specialized renal diets, AKF said in a news release. Maria’s devastation of road, power, water and communications infrastructure in Puerto Rico has created significant logistical challenges for patients and dialysis centers alike, disrupting mobility and making it difficult to get supplies.
“As the infrastructure in Puerto Rico slowly begins to recover from Maria’s effects, we are preparing for an influx of requests for emergency assistance from dialysis patients there who have suffered extreme hardship,” said LaVarne A. Burton, AKF president and CEO. “The scale of devastation and need is far beyond what we have ever seen before, and it is our goal to be able to provide disaster relief assistance to every dialysis patient who needs it.”
Burton said the organization continues to receive a steady stream of requests for assistance from patients affected by Irma and Harvey, and is processing most requests within one business day. AKF is working with members of the Kidney Community Emergency Response (KCER) Coalition to monitor and assess patient needs in Puerto Rico.
So far this year, AKF has raised $353,000 for disaster relief from a combination of donations from individuals, employee/member giving campaigns, corporations, foundations, and associations, and is supplementing the fund with its own resources. The organization continues to fundraise for its Disaster Relief Program to make up the shortfall between funds contributed and funds disbursed, and allocates 100% of all donations to the program to provide assistance to patients.
Charity Navigator has included AKF on its list of highly rated charities that are providing aid to survivors of Maria, Irma, and Harvey.
The following companies and organizations have provided major support for the disaster relief program:
- Akebia Therapeutics Inc.
- Alliant Health Solutions
- Amgen Foundation
- American Renal Associates
- American Medical Technologists
- American Society of Nephrology
- American Society of Pediatric Nephrology
- DaVita Healthcare Partners
- Dialysis Clinic Inc.
- Fresenius Medical Care
- Keryx Biopharmaceuticals
- National Renal Administrators Association
- OPKO Renal
- Relypsa Inc.
- UBS Financial Services
- S. Renal Care
- UVA Medical Center
How to contribute
Individuals or organizations wishing to contribute to AKF’s Disaster Relief Program may visit kidneyfund.org/hurricane, where they may designate whether their contribution should go to relief for Maria, Irma or Harvey, or the area of greatest need. AKF said 100% of contributions are going to dialysis patients affected by the hurricanes.
Resources for patients
Any dialysis patient affected by the recent hurricanes who needs emergency assistance may speak to the social worker at their dialysis clinic for information on how to apply for help from AKF, or may call AKF at 800.795.3226 for information.
AKF’s website is providing information resources for dialysis patients in the aftermath of the storms, including a list of dialysis clinic hotlines; links to FEMA and Red Cross resources; and information about finding open pharmacies and other resources. Patients may find this information at www.kidneyfund.org/disaster-relief-resources.