This mission started with a question: How can we help people in America who can't afford ostomy supplies?
If you're not familiar with the word ostomy, it's a medical term used to generalize three main types of lifesaving surgery; colostomy, ileostomy, and urostomy. People need to have these operations for many different reasons; including cancer, diverticulitis, injury, inflammatory bowel disease, rare illnesses, Hirschsprung's, and more. A person with a colostomy, ileostomy, or urostomy must wear an ostomy pouching system on their abdomen to collect waste that exits the body through a stoma.
Some people living with an ostomy in the United States do not have health insurance. Some ostomates have insurance but these medical supplies aren't covered, or the amount allowed is limited. They’re forced to pay out-of-pocket for costly supplies they cannot live without. This expense can be hundreds of dollar per month, for some thousands.
“Sending sincere thanks to Kindred Box. These supplies allow me to change my urostomy appliance freely without trying to save on pouches or money. I was in a dire situation with my husband’s unexpected illness and bills exceeding our income. Truly a blessing to me, thank you so much!” — Sherrial
There is absolutely a need for Kindred Box and I've known this for a very long time, mainly because I was someone who needed help many years ago. I've had a permanent ileostomy since 1994 because of Crohn's disease. So when I read messages like the one below, it motivates me to take action and do something.
"I have baggies and a little tape. I guess that's how it'll have to be done until my insurance gets figured out. Depression is hitting me hard." — Jessica
Thankfully there are many ostomates with excess supplies who want to donate. Also, people who receive reversal surgery and no longer need supplies donate unused extras. Caring nurses donate. Families of beloved ostomates that have passed on donate. All of this generosity is why Kindred Box exists. Kindred meaning alike, similar in kind, connected. As in, we are in this together!
“I feel very fortunate to have extra ostomy supplies to give to others who are struggling.” — Michael
I understand this initiative doesn't solve the big problems. But until we can get more States to pass laws that require all major commercial medical insurance policies to cover the provision of ostomy supplies — like New York did in 2014 and Maryland in 2015 — this is how we will pay-it-forward. When you see firsthand the impact this has on the life of another, it becomes the best feeling in the world.
“The colostomy supplies we received were so needed to recover what was lost from Hurricane Harvey. It gave us peace of mind. One less thing to worry about while we were trying to rebuild our lives and continue with my father's cancer treatment. We truly appreciate your help in our greatest time of need.” — Pia
My sincere appreciation goes to you, for taking the time to read our mission and consider a contribution. 100% of your gift is used to support ostomates who need help. Every day, it amazes me to witness the kindness of others. Please spread the word so we can make a bigger impact!
Christine Kim, founder