VGH’s Renal Program capacity has nearly doubled, thanks to a $1-million gift from philanthropists Gordon and Leslie Diamond to the VGH & UBC Hospital Foundation.

The project included increasing the inpatient capacity from 30 to 43 beds, as well as increasing the number of Independent Dialysis beds from 8 to 15.

VGH’s Renal Program provides comprehensive care to medically complex patients with kidney failure from across the province – as many as 40 per cent of patients treated through the program come from other parts of BC and the Yukon.

Independent dialysis includes home treatment programs specifically designed for each patient, giving them the ability to dialyze more often or for longer periods of time, which better reflects the function of the kidneys and may result in better health. It also helps patients resume normal life and reduce the inconvenience of regular trips to VGH.

“I have been doing dialysis at home for over a year now,” explains patient Ka Wee Wong. “I like home hemo because I can dialyze whenever I want and I can do it more often, which is better for my body. Now, I come to the Independent Dialysis Unit every month to dialyze to ensure my dialysis access is working well.”

For Gordon Diamond, giving back to the community is something that was instilled in him at a young age by his father. He explained that to truly make a difference you need more than wealth.

“You can have lots of money, but if you don’t have great people with a vision, you won’t make it happen,” said Gordon. “This project had wonderful people, and a smart plan. It makes me and my wife so proud to be able to help this plan come to fruition.”

It is estimated that 2.6 million Canadians have or are at risk of developing kidney disease. In Canada, each day approximately 16 people are told that their kidneys have failed, and in British Columbia alone, 1 in 10 people are affected. The main drivers behind these figures, which have tripled over the past 20 years, are our aging population and an increase in diseases linked to renal failure, primarily diabetes and high blood pressure.