St. Paul man with kidney disease shares story of added challenges during pandemic

Josie Smith
Updated: October 06, 2020 07:23 AM
Created: October 06, 2020 06:42 AM

For those living with an underlying medical condition, coping during this pandemic is especially difficult.

Donovan Williams has been living with kidney disease for years. Currently, he receives peritoneal dialysis at home. Each month, he receives about 70 boxes at his St. Paul home, each weighing about 20 to 30 pounds. Before COVID-19, Donovan says it was easy for patients to get their supplies delivered.

"Normally, the drivers bring the product into the patient's home, and, you know, they've got a motorized cart and it can climb upstairs. And I receive about 70 boxes on average, they're huge," Donovan said.

Currently, drivers aren't allowed to go inside patients' homes. Instead, Donovan has them stack them in his garage and on his porch. He has lifting restrictions, so a friend helps bring them inside, but Donovan says that's a temporary solution.

"It's getting cold already, and it's going to be snowing soon and the product I use is temperature sensitive," Dononvan said. "So I said 'Well, what's the plan for eventually getting drivers back indoors?' They said, 'We're still working on that and we hope to have a solution by the time it gets bad.'"

Donovan's experience highlights the type of challenges that people with kidney disease and other underlying medical conditions are living with right now. Plus, statistics show that people of color suffer from kidney disease more often than those who are white.

"And now we've got the double blow of you've got to worry about this for people of color and you have Covid which is an issue for people of color, so it's crucial that our communities that are really impacted by this take caution and be proactive," Donovan advised.

While Donovan waits to hear what the plan is for getting his temperature-sensitive medical supplies delivered inside his home this winter, you can show your support for kidney patients on Saturday October 10. The National Kidney Foundation of Minnesota is holding a virtual walk.

They're encouraging participants to walk outside with their own pods or wherever they feel safe. You can participate virtually or make a donation at

There's also a kidney support group in Minnesota that is meeting online right now on Zoom. Currently, the group is meeting bi-weekly.

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