STOP THE BUS: Kidney patient Neville Lott from Newcastle with Coffs Harbour Pacific City Lions Club members Kevin Gibson, Les Custer and Joe Grewal in the Big Red Kidney Bus.
STOP THE BUS: Kidney patient Neville Lott from Newcastle with Coffs Harbour Pacific City Lions Club members Kevin Gibson, Les Custer and Joe Grewal in the Big Red Kidney Bus. Trevor Veale

New NSW bus program is a game-changer

FOR kidney patients like Neville Lott, going on a holiday was almost an impossibility.

But the launch of Kidney Health Australia's NSW Big Red Kidney Bus has proved to be a game-changer.

The Big Red Kidney Bus is a mobile dialysis unit which allows kidney patients to go on holiday, and has now set up in Coffs Harbour for five weeks.

The bus is fitted with three chairs and is capable of providing up to 1500 treatments a year.

A retired bricklayer and machinist from Newcastle, Neville is one patient who has taken the opportunity to have a holiday in Coffs.

"It's great. I've been here for two weeks and today is my last treatment at Coffs Harbour,” he said.

"When I heard the bus was heading up to Ballina next month, I booked for another two weeks up there.”

Neville arrived with wife Roslyn and they have used the opportunity to catch up with family, go sight-seeing and play bowls.

A Big Red Kidney Bus has been operating in Victoria since 2014 and CEO Mikaela Stafrace said she was thrilled the program is now available in NSW.

"Dialysis is a debilitating and restrictive regime and it can be extremely difficult for those with end-stage kidney disease to take a holiday,” she said.

"On average, dialysis patients need to have treatment for up to five hours at a time, three days a week, and holiday dialysis chair availabilities are very limited around Australia.”

Kidney Health Australia has thanked the Lions Club which has committed to raise $200,000 by 2019 to bring a new Big Red Kidney Bus for NSW.

The current bus is on loan from the La Trobe Valley.

Jow Grewal, former president of the Coffs Harbour Pacific City Lions Club, said the team are excited to raise money for a new bus.

"The Lions have always supported anything medical, like research. We pick things we think are a worthy charity, so Lions have decided to raise $200,000 towards a new Big Red Kidney Bus,” Mr Grewal said.

"It was great to be able to see the bus. It's the first time I've seen something we've actually helped support.”

The Big Red Kidney Bus will be located at Park Beach Holiday Park from August 21 to September 30.

Dialysis on the bus is also available for locals who might want to try the service with a view to including it in their own travel plans.



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