Blue Jeans Day at the Renal Care Centre in Westmount began more than two years ago as a way of fundraising for the Renal Care Patient Assistance Fund. Staff members make a donation every Friday to wear jeans to work and they wear stickers, host raffles, sell homemade goods and find various ways to contribute to the fund.
The Renal Care Patient Assistance Fund is completely donor-supported. It helps many patients pay for unexpected short-term costs, such as certain medications not covered by insurance, emergency living expense, transportation to dialysis treatment, and other costs incurred as a result of kidney disease.
Dialysis is a time-intensive, life-sustaining treatment that most kidney patients must undergo for the rest of their life. London Health Sciences Centre’s renal program serves patients from as far away as Owen Sound, who must travel to London for dialysis three times a week because advanced care is not available in their communities.
“If people are spending their money on getting here, then they’re saying: ‘My money’s going to getting here. I can’t spend money on groceries.’ Or ‘I’m tapped out. I can’t pay my Trillium deductible for my medications.'"
-- Becky Songhurst, Social Worker, Renal Care Centre
The Renal Care Patient Assistance Fund can help, but relies on much-needed donor support.
“Renal Blue Jeans Day is a great way to raise awareness around the burden faced by kidney patients and to make a difference in someone’s life,” Marlene Rees-Newton, Renal Care Centre Coordinator, says.
A Grateful Family’s Experience
Stanley Rodgers with daughters Melissa, Sandra and Carrie
"My wife Jackie was diabetic and it eventually affected her kidney function. However, Dr. Louise Moist from London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC) helped Jackie manage her kidney function so well that it was years before Jackie needed dialysis.
When dialysis was finally needed, we chose Peritoneal Dialysis (PD). Living on a farm and raising three daughters, there was always a lot to do. PD could be done at home, at night, so this option was the best for us.
We took camping trips with our three daughters when they were younger so that we could all experience life to the fullest and as our children grew through their teenage years, Jackie was their taxi service. She wasn’t going to let diabetes – or dialysis – slow her down.
The hospital was there for us. Ivana, our primary care nurse at the dialysis clinic, taught us how to do the treatments. She was there for Jackie’s regular six-month check-ups and even did home visits. At one point, Jackie needed a medication not covered by government health insurance or the Trillium Fund, so the staff helped us find funding for it.
Jackie wanted to repay the kindness and support she received. When we finally could, we made a donation to the Renal Patient Assistance Fund, so that the hospital can continue to help ordinary people like us in similar situations.
Everyone at LHSC cared for Jackie like family. They gave us more years and great memories with Jackie. That’s why we’re a grateful family."