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Waikato District Health Board clinical nurse director Nicky Hagan sitting with Morrinsville Lions Club treasurer Bryan Barker and member Hugh Makgill.

When you are a hemodialysis patient you often become a prisoner of your own home. You are bound by the confines of four walls and chained to a machine.

It is with these realities in mind that a patient of Midlands Regional Renal Centre came up with the idea to try and get the more than 100 hemodialysis patients in the area an opportunity for reprieve.

Scott Smith had the dream for a campervan that would allow patients the freedom to take dialysis with them.

Now two years to the day, and after an enormous community effort, the first freedom dialysis van for upper north island is open for hire.

Waikato District Health Board clinical director Dr Peter Sizeland said despite doctors and patients agreeing that when dialysis can be delivered at home it should, everyone recognises that can be limiting.

“We have lost that flexibility for patients to take that break and get away from the house where they are doing treatment sometimes five times a week,” he said.

Dr Sizeland went on to thank the number of community groups and individuals who contributed to raising almost $150,000, including the Morrinsville Lions who donated $118,000 themselves.

“We are in a privileged position where we get to treat patients that enrich our lives but I hope this is one step to do that for them,” he said.

“It is going to be life transforming for our patients.”

The van will be available for hire through the Waikato District Health Board. Keep an eye on our website for more details.

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