Cruising for a Cause

There are hundreds of charities worth donating your time, effort, and money. We knew from the beginning our small contributions to other major charities would be absorbed in the cost of bookkeeping, staff, and daily operations. We also realized we could not cure a long standing disease or medical condition. To rectify these things we wanted to choose a charity that received very little attention, funding and medical advances. We wanted to see fast results and wanted our passengers contributing the funds to see them as well. The key word is SEE.

Our cause is kidney dialysis for several reasons. Unlike other diseases, there is NO cure for kidney failure, unless a rare perfect kidney donation is received. There is no pill or medication to cure or even slow this medical situation. Medical science’s answer has been the same for decades. To prolong the patient’s life a few more years they must be tethered to a machine that cleans the entire blood supply 2-3 times a week for several hours each time. Dialysis also robs them of their strength,job and finances.

A patient must undergo dialysis every 2 to 3 days just to stay alive and they never know what the end result will be because high percentage pass away while doing the treatments.  This restraint leaves them very little or no opportunity to travel. There comes a time when most terminal patients want to travel, see the world, and visit with family and friends. Kidney dialysis patients are also generally in the average age group of our rally participants which makes it easy to relate to their situation and helps them to socialize with us at our rallies.

Our goal was to provide an opportunity for motorcycle enthusiasts or their friends on dialysis to attend our HIGH SEAS RALLIES. We want to give the patient a chance to travel, spend some valuable time socializing with a couple thousand new friends and hopefully having the time of their lives. The only medical treatment anyone currently can offer.

Debbie searched and discovered there were a few medical companies that provided kidney dialysis aboard cruise ships. We quickly found that medical expenses whether at sea or land is costly, to the tune of $13,000.00 in 2003. Nearing $30,000 currently. That’s just for the doctors, nurses and machines. The treatments were $625.00 per person x 3 times a week. Today cost nears $1200 per treatment. Our only choice was Dialysis at Sea.

We announced our charity idea at our 1st Annual Hogs on the High Seas Rally in 2003. Response was overwhelming. 805 rally participants contributed $8,270.00 to help meet the contracted price. That amount fell way short so Dean and Debbie covered the balance the first year. We quicly found out that most insurance companies will reimburse the dialysis patient after the cruise, but the patient has to pay the total cost of the treatments upfront. However, we were stunned to discover that uninsured military vets and Medicare patients didn’t qualify for re-reimbursement through the Veterans Administration or Medicare for receiving the very same treatments they would receive at their home dialysis treatment centers just because they were at sea. We couldn’t have that so beginning just our 2nd year we (Dean & Debbie) covered the whole tab.

Over the years Dean and Debbie have covered the costs when the collections did not meet the costs. After our 10th Anniversary cruise we now have the funds to pay for both the dialysis patient and the caregiver portion of the dialysis patients cabin. That’s round trip airfare, hotel the night before the cruise, cabin on ship, dialysis treatments and spending money. Making it a completely FREE vacation for these deserving patients AND there companions. Want to help with Debbie’s Dialysis Fund Charity, just register for our rallies, and get a friend to register with you. Have the time of your life while making a dream come true for a dialysis patient.
We would also like to note that scores of cancer and other medical condition patients attend our rallies each year for rehab, and for some, as their last Rally of a Lifetime.