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Kidney patient gets more help

Kidney patient gets more help

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A Facebook page called, ‘Please help Ayana Findlay’ and complemented by an online donation site, ‘Gofundme,’ has raised approximately EC$10,000 for a local kidney patient.

On Wednesday, the funds raised so far were handed over to kidney patient Ayana Findlay by Gale Branch-Alexander, a Vincentian {{more}}residing in New Jersey, who started the Facebook page and the ‘Gofundme’ account.

The money was handed over during a short ceremony, which was held at the conference room of the St Vincent Cooperative Bank on Bay Street in Kingstown.

Explaining how the money was raised, Branch-Alexander said that she learnt about Findlay’s plight through another Vincentian residing in the US, Diane Lyttle, who spoke about the kidney patient during a Facebook post.

“I reached out and said I would like to help because I knew of online donation sites that could be set up, so I set up a ‘Gofundme’ account for Ayana,” said Branch-Alexander, who added that she wanted to put a credible face to the appeal, so she contacted manager at the St Vincent Cooperative Bank Laverne Velox, who agreed to help.

Branch-Alexander said that although they were able to raise the money that was donated to Findlay on Wednesday through the appeal, that amount is nowhere near to what they are hoping for, as they have set a “lofty” goal of US$60,000.

“…it has not got near there yet, but we are hoping that it can continue and we can get more people interested,” said Branch-Alexander, who added that this first set of money will help Findlay with her dialysis treatment.

To donate, persons can go to the Facebook page ‘Please help Ayana Findlay,’ where they can click on a link that allows them to donate through a credit or debit card.

Commenting, Findlay said that she is overwhelmed by the support she has been getting from the public.

“I feel very overwhelmed. I feel extra special to know that so many persons around the world, persons I do not know and persons who I am meeting for the first time are willing to contribute and not just contribute like $5, but you will see some of them contributing like US$100 and over. It just warms my heart to see this happen and I just feel blessed.”

Findlay pays EC$4,000 monthly for the life saving haemodialysis treatment, with additional funds for other expenses. She has started a bake business to offset expenses, but needs the additional help.

She added, “…with dialysis, no matter how I try, I just feel like the money just isn’t enough, because every week it costs EC$1,000 and it just seems like it is impossible to save the money. My real goal is a transplant and every time you try save for one thing you have to spend it back on dialysis.”

She said that the last estimate that she got in relation to a kidney transplant was EC$160,000 if the operation is done in the neighbouring island of Trinidad.

“I am extremely grateful to the persons who are helping me. There are a lot of people I have to thank,” said Findlay on Wednesday.

Speaking at the handover ceremony, bank manager Laverne Velox said that the St Vincent Cooperative Bank not only embraced the fund-raising venture initiated by Branch-Alexander, but set up a bottle in which customers placed donations.

“Customers were so generous that when we counted the money it was like the world was good and we gave over EC$4,000 to Findlay and the staff was happy, so we are glad that other persons are helping,” said Velox, who added that the EC$4,000 monthly fee that Findlay has to deal with is a substantial amount.

Findlay has been battling kidney failure since 2010. She moved from peritoneal dialysis to haemodialysis in 2012. She is hoping to raise the money for a transplant, as her mother is willing to donate a kidney. Tests for compatibility will cost the Findlay family an additional US$10,000 to US$15,000.

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