Purple House, providing dialysis treatment and much morE.
When the Purple Truck rolls into remote regions of Central Australia, it doesn’t just bring much-needed dialysis treatment to locals suffering kidney disease. It also serves as a conduit to maintain their cultural and family ties.
“Small communities often don't have a permanent dialysis unit,” Purple House Communications & Engagement Manager Kate Clark said. “But people receiving treatment in Alice Springs or Darwin are also desperate to get home, whether it's for ‘sorry business’ and funerals, important meetings, cultural business, festivals, or just because they miss their family.”
The iconic Purple Truck has now been operating for more than a decade and a second truck was launched last year to focus on communities in the Top End.
“When we started, Central Australia had the worst outcomes for dialysis patients in the country – and now we have the best. So our patients on average will live longer than somebody who had end stage renal failure on dialysis in Sydney, or Melbourne, which is extraordinary.”
It is another example of the power of self-determination with the Purple House set up and controlled by the Pintupi communities of the Western Desert in Central Australia. It was kick started more than two decades ago with the sale of four extraordinary collaborative paintings by Western Desert artists through the Art Gallery of New South Wales, which raised more than $1 million.
The Alice Springs-based community organisation’s core business centres around its 19 permanent remote dialysis clinics, as well as in town social support, aged-care and NDIS services, and a bush medicine social enterprise called Bush Balm. It also helps to educate communities about health in culturally appropriate and accessible ways.
Two new dialysis units are in the works: one in South Australia’s Coober Pedy and another in WA’s Balgo, which has close ties to the Western Desert communities that began the Purple House.
“At the moment they've got some of their senior elders hundreds of kilometres from home, some of them as far away as Perth, which for them may as well be another country.”
The entire board of Purple House are Pintupi Luritja people from the communities of the Western Desert and they have first-hand insight into its services given many receive dialysis treatment themselves or have family members on dialysis.
The Purple House has been one of Equity Trustees’ workplace giving partners over the past two years and has also been supported by an active philanthropist.
“It's been extraordinary for the past twenty years that people from all over Australia – many of whom have never been to a remote community or Central Australia – have supported our work so that we can keep building these new dialysis units in remote communities. And our patients in their communities are always just absolutely blown away that people who have never met them would help them get home to their families.”
You can find out more about The Purple House and donate at the website https://www.purplehouse.org.au/balgo-dialysis-appeal.
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