Dial­y­sis car­a­van over­hauled


Twelve years ago, the Owaka Lions fit­ted out a car­a­van with a dial­y­sis ma­chine for peo­ple to use on hol­i­days.

Clients from all across the world have used the car­a­van dur­ing that time and it was de­cided to up­grade it.

The re­place­ment has now been fin­ished, thanks to a col­lab­o­ra­tive ef­fort be­tween the Owaka Lions, the 202F Lions Clubs - which ex­tend across South­land, Cen­tral Otago and Fiord­land as far south as Ste­wart Is­land, the South­ern District Health Board, and var­i­ous donors and free work by trades­peo­ple.

Lions mem­ber Jack Knight’s in­ter­est was spurred by the sit­u­a­tion of a lo­cal man who had to have dial­y­sis reg­u­larly. They were aware of peo­ple able to hire a ma­chine from the Can­ter­bury Hos­pi­tal and liked the idea, so they set to work rais­ing the nec­es­sary funds and fit-out. Soon it was on the road.

The project of the new dial­y­sis car­a­van be­gan in June, when an­other Lions mem­ber Alan Burgess started look­ing for a smaller model. A small Ze­phyr 380 car­a­van was found in Ar­row­town and the work be­gan. So far at least 20 of the clubs af­fil­i­ated to the 202F Lions Clubs have made do­na­tions.

It in­cluded re­lin­ing, paint­ing, rewiring and en­sur­ing ev­ery­thing ad­hered to hy­giene stan­dards. The main jobs were the plumb­ing and in­stalling wa­ter pumps and elec­tri­cals. And of course, fit­ting in the dial­y­sis ma­chine. A large tele­vi­sion and DVD player were in­stalled and cab­i­nets put in.

The car­a­van was re­cently com­pleted, and had a suc­cess­ful test run. Burgess took it to In­ver­cargill for an Aus­tralian man, who ar­rived last week, to use for his two-week hol­i­day in New Zealand with fam­ily.

‘‘It was much easier to drive than the old one,’’ Burgess said.

The car­a­van al­lowed peo­ple the chance of a hol­i­day which oth­er­wise they would be un­able to take. The old car­a­van had taken peo­ple to Twizel, Cromwell, Wanaka, and In­ver­cargill, among other places.

‘‘One cou­ple have had it three or four times. Some of the let­ters of thanks bring tears to the eyes. There was the woman who went ski­ing in Wanaka.’’

He said some years were busy, with more than 20 peo­ple us­ing it.

‘‘Two peo­ple at a wed­ding lo­cally took turns us­ing it.’’

The old car­a­van and ma­chine are be­ing used by a per­son need­ing it long-term, while he works in the area.

Owaka Lions mem­ber Fer­gus Gre­gory of Owaka Val­ley, who worked on the in­te­rior fit­tings.

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