The Kidney Foundation of Canada supports kidney patients throughout the different stages of kidney disease to alleviate its burden
Kidney disease can be a diagnosis for life. This chronic condition, often detected in its later stages, abruptly alters patients’ lives — physically, mentally, and financially. Whether newly diagnosed or long-term patients, individuals with chronic kidney disease face many challenges that impact their quality of life.
Annick Lim, now 47 years old, was a chronically sick baby, constantly battling various infections. After numerous doctor visits and countless tests, she was eventually diagnosed with kidney disease at only 18 months old. “I was so sick they thought I was being neglected at home,” says Lim.
Navigating New Challenges
Annick’s kidney journey hasn’t been a smooth road. She found the abrupt transition from a child patient to an adult patient particularly rough. “When you turn 18, you’re not on your parents’ medical coverage anymore; you’re on your own,” Annick says.
With limited income and a lack of medical coverage in her late teenage years, Annick found herself struggling to cover the cost of her medications at the time. That’s when her social worker applied on her behalf for The Kidney Foundation’s short-term emergency financial assistance program, which helped her with some of the cost of medications. “It had a huge impact on me, and 30 years later, I literally still I get emotional about it,” she says.
At 23 years old, she received a kidney transplant from her father, but the process was met with some obstacles. Her father was unemployed at the time and needed assistance to cover his out-of-pocket non-medical expenses for the transplant surgery; That’s when The Foundation stepped in again and took care of his travel expenses. “They do it all… they lifted the burden in a massive way”, Lim says.
Diverse Services & Resource Program to Support All Kidney Patients
Many kidney patients encounter unplanned costs which leave them financially distressed. The Kidney Foundation has an emergency financial assistance program to alleviate the burden of chronic kidney disease. The Foundation also facilitates access to programs that financially support living organ donors to eliminate some barriers to organ donation. Like many other chronic conditions, kidney disease can be a long and lonely road with many mental health challenges, in addition to the financial burden. It is crucial that patients find meaningful connections with others that have had similar experiences to better cope with their condition.
One-on-one and group peer support programs offered by The Foundation remain a crucial lifeline for many kidney patients. “The power of knowing you are not alone in this journey and learning from those who lived through similar experiences is tremendously powerful,” said Elizabeth Myles, National Executive Director of The Kidney Foundation of Canada. “In recent years, our online peer support programs have grown. Along with the more traditional in-person model we’ve had in place for years, this program has been able to reach more individuals than ever, especially those who live in rural areas.”For the past 15 years, Annick has been an active volunteer and fundraiser for the Kidney Walk. Although her goal was to raise awareness and funds for research and support programs, she found an additional unexpected outcome: lifelong friendships with others who understand the kidney disease journey.
“I never would have envisioned who I’m friends with now,” says Annick. “We do volunteer work together. We grab coffee together. They’re my best friends.” Learning that you have kidney disease can be overwhelming, so it’s important to know that you’re not alone. The Kidney Foundation of Canada is here to help and support you at every step in your journey.
We’re Always Here to Help
Connecting people through one-on-one and group peer support, virtual or in person
Alleviating the financial burden
Offering information about kidney disease, transplant, lifestyle
Kidney Community Kitchen
Kidney focused nutrition information, recipes and tools to guide you through their kidney diet
To learn how we can help, visit https://kidney.ca/Support.