The Contact Energy Northland Renal Fund supports dialysis patients by funding applications of up to $1,000 towards items that would improve their quality of life on home dialysis.
In 2009 Contact Energy and the Northland Community Foundation established the Contact Energy Northland Renal Endowment Fund.
Contact Energy gifted $28,200 to “benefit low income residents of the Far North regions of New Zealand”, one of the most vulnerable communities, where the majority of the renal patients come from. The Northland Foundation manages the Fund on behalf of Northland DHB and after careful investment grew the fund to $38,000.
In 2016 distributions began, and 24 grants were allocated to Northland dialysis patients needing support to improve their quality of life on home dialysis. Grants have now totalled approximately $24,000 and have been allocated for purposes ranging from a generator to prevent loss of dialysis during power cuts to recliner chairs and contributions to power bills, with a further $14,000 remaining to allocate.
Because of the Contact Energy Renal Endowment Fund the last two winters have been a little easier to get through for Ruakaka renal patient Desiree Goldsmith thanks to a $1,000 grant she received from the Contact Energy Renal Fund that helps pay hefty power bills to keep her lifesaving dialysis machine running.
Desiree has Alport Syndrome which is a disease that damages the tiny blood vessels in her kidneys. She was first diagnosed in 2001 and had eight months of dialysis before her mother donated one of her kidneys for her to have a transplant. Since then, her kidney function has reduced to 20 percent, she has lost part of her eyesight and hearing and is now unable to work because she has no immune system.
Because of her situation, social workers at Northland DHB put Desiree forward to receive a payment from the Contact Energy Renal Fund. All Desiree needed to do was to decide what would be the best way to use the money to help her remain independent. She already had a lazy boy chair to dialyse in, so decided to put the money towards her power costs.
Desiree tries to keep her costs down by turning off switches around the house and has been contributing some her own money towards her monthly power bill since she first got the fund in 2016 to make the money last as long as possible.
She said she would be stressing without this support, which in turn would make her sick. “It’s a lifesaver. I just couldn’t have coped and I’m so thankful to Contact Energy.”
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