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.