Anchorage family highlights obstacles associated with kidney disease in Alaska

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - A Montana man made national headlines after his dialysis provider waived a massive $500,000 bill for care.

Gary Allen Moore shows how his home dialysis unit functions Sunday July 28. (KTUU)

Channel 2 spoke with an Anchorage family about the obstacles that come with having kidney disease in Alaska.

"When we had the earthquake, we had power outages, the clinics were closed, and those are just different things that we, as Alaskans, have to take into consideration," Gary Allen Moore, who has been on dialysis for six years, told Channel 2 Sunday.

Moore says being prepared for the worst case scenario is crucial for anyone living with kidney disease in Alaska.

"I keep about 45 days’ worth of supplies on hand,” he said, “because Alaska is so isolated, if we have bad weather, that can cause a delay in my supply shipment."

Moore has End Stage Renal Disease -- his kidneys have pretty much failed. He's on a waiting list for a kidney transplant, but he has to make an annual trip to Oregon for checkups.

"We have to see special doctors who are not available in Alaska,” he said. “So I have to go to Portland to do different tests associated with transplant."

Moore is on home dialysis, which allows him to treat himself at home while he sleeps, instead of sit for hours each week to receive treatment at a clinic.

Moore's wife, Yalonda Moore, belongs to a national network advocating for patients to use home dialysis instead of clinics. She says it gives them more control over their lives.

"Right now, the goal is in the next 3 or 4 years to try and increase the percentage of people on home dialysis," Yolanda said.

Although Alaska is ranked relatively low, per capita, researchers predict a steady increase in kidney disease across the country over the next decade. Yalonda is educating Alaskans on resources available to meet that increase.

"They'll learn more, and get the education they need, and see that there are actually people out here that care," she said.

The Moore’s recommend Alaskans check with their providers for resources to consider transitioning to home dialysis.

Gary and Yalonda are both Support Member Experts for the NPFE-LAN. Anyone wishing to learn more about home dialysis can reach them at 907-830-9195.

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