New Northern Michigan Nonprofit Helping People Who Need Kidney Transplants
After noticing a need in northern Michigan, John Stanifer and his wife, Molly, came up with the idea behind Kidney Companions.
They wanted to offer a support system for people who may not only need a kidney, but a friend.
“We were having patients that are in need of a kidney transplant desperately to save their life, to come off dialysis,” said John. “But we were running into some barriers.”
Those barriers include something as simple as a friend, or even a support group for those needing a kidney transplant.
“It might be a ride,” said Molly. “It might be to pick up a prescription. It might be just to grab a coffee, you know, just being supportive in any way that that person needs.”
Kidney Companions is looking for volunteers to join and help. The only commitment? Time.
“One of the things that this really will address in a very real way is overcoming transportation issues, someone to help get to the appointment, someone to help be in the appointment, to advocate for the patients, to process all the information that they have to take in at the time of the transplant,” said John.
The nearest transplant centers are in Grand Rapids and Ann Arbor, leaving many northern Michigan patients unable to get access to the transplant list.
“Seeing my patients right now that maybe didn’t have any hope for transplant because they didn’t have family support for them… to hear that there is maybe a possibility now that they can quality for transplant, has been huge,” said Molly Hinds, a nurse practitioner at Munson Healthcare.
Kidney Companions is also free for patients. The main goal is to offer a support system.
“We just want somebody’s time to form a friendship, and a companionship to help our patients get kidneys,” said John.
The non-profit will also be having upcoming volunteer sessions for people who are interested. For those who are interested, click here.