You can find kidney patient Mike Powell at the gym every week, lifting weights and working to become eligible for a kidney transplant. A native of South Florida, Powell was born without legs.
“Back when I was coming up, kids were cruel,” remembers Powell. “There was no ADA or disability awareness. I missed out on a lot of school trips and functions. They’d flat out tell me, ‘Mike, you can’t go.’ I never had anyone sit down and explain to me why or comfort me or anything like that.”
Powell was diagnosed with kidney disease in 2012. “I didn’t get a lot of information about what was happening and what I could expect,” explains Powell. “In hindsight, I would’ve liked to have received more warning and information about what was coming my way.”
After speaking with his doctor about the possibility getting a new kidney, Powell was told he needed to lose weight to become eligible for a transplant and put his name on the waiting list. As a result, he joined a gym. Since joining, he’s been inching his way closer to reaching his first goal of getting on the transplant waiting list.
Hoping to inspire others, Powell began recording and uploading his workouts to his social media accounts, including Facebook and Instagram. His workout videos demonstrate a strong, determined kidney patient, ready to do whatever it takes to become eligible for a transplant.
Says Powell: “Now that I’m older and more confident, I want to give back by helping other disabled people not feel ashamed or too shy. I want to inspire people to go out and live their lives, to enjoy their life as best they can. I don’t mind being that someone they look to as an inspiration – someone I didn’t have.”
Powell is covered by Medicare. However, Medicare only covers 80 percent of his medical bills, leaving him to pay for the remaining 20 percent. A state insurance program has been able to assist Powell with a portion of the remaining 20 percent, but much of it was to be paid for out-of-pocket. However, Powell has since received secondary insurance through Humana and the American Kidney Fund pays Powell’s $585/month premium through their charitable premium assistance program.
“It’s a lifeline,” explains Powell. “Charitable premium assistance is incredibly important for patients who can’t cover out-of-pocket expenses, even with Medicare.”
The Chronic Disease Coalition often hears from patients that have been dropped from their insurance coverage as a result of accepting premium assistance from nonprofits, like the American Kidney Fund. As a result, we work to bring attention to these stories and advocate for patients’ rights. Join us in the fight to protect patients’ rights and ensure that charities can be charitable.