Students at Mineola Middle School recently visited Winthrop’s Dialysis Center to donate thoughtful and useful gifts to patients undergoing dialysis treatment: 200 handmade eyeglass cases, which will let patients know the students are thinking of them and also provide a secure case for them to put eyeglasses or sunglasses in while undergoing treatment. Representatives from the Dialysis Patient Advisory Committee were there to receive the gifts, along with members of the Dialysis Center staff. Patients and staff shared with the students their experiences with kidney disease and health, making it an educational gathering for all involved.
“The students came with such incredible questions and we are proud of our partnership with Mineola Middle School,” said Jennifer Sullivan, LCSW, social worker at Winthrop’s Dialysis Center, who facilitated the visit. “It’s nice for them to come here and see who exactly is receiving the gifts, what they go through and what end stage renal disease entails.”
This donation is part of an ongoing relationship with the school and gifts in the past have included heart-shaped pillows, fleece blankets to help keep patients warm during and after treatment and decorated tote bags. The donations would not be possible without the help of Jean Connelly, health and consumer science teacher at Mineola Middle School, who has developed a relationship with Winthrop and AnneMarie Palumbo, who also works at the school.
Led by Rose Anne Bonello, RN, MSN, director of renal services, and Paula Dutka, renal educator, the Winthrop staff of nurses, social workers and dietitians educated the students about dialysis and the importance of taking care of your health. Two representatives from the dialysis patient advisory committee also spoke to the students about their experiences on dialysis and how important the treatment is to keep them alive.
“This is something that has prolonged my life,” said one patient, who told the students she comes to Winthrop a few times a week for treatment and answered their questions.
Questions from the students included why people need to be on dialysis; the role of diet in kidney health; what the treatment feels like; and also, how to become a nurse and help people.