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Hurricane Danger: A Diabetes UPDATE on How to Get What You Need and Give What You Can

By Jeemin Kwon

Information about diabetes supplies for those hit by the storms and for those who can help them

Please act now!

Hurricanes Harvey and Irma have left behind massive flooding and destruction, rendering Houston and surrounding areas nearly impassable in Texas while doing the same in the Caribbean, Florida, South Carolina, and Georgia. These storms, of course, can severely disrupt diabetes care – especially for those using insulin.

The Red Cross, FEMA, the JDRF, the American Diabetes Association (ADA), and other organizations are working to help those with diabetes who’ve been affected by this crisis. Here are resources on accessing diabetes supplies and shelters as well as ways you can help. 

This ADA/JDRF/Insulin for Life press release has a comprehensive list of resources, including access shelters, open pharmacies, and how to get supplies in Texas. We’ve included several of these below that may be most useful.

Shelters and disaster relief in Texas and South Florida

1. For a list of available shelters, please see this document.

  • ADA hotline: 1-800-Diabetes

  • American Red Cross hotline: 988-500-8645

  • Airbnb Urgent Accommodations. Airbnb is waiving all service fees for those displaced by Harvey checking in until September 25, 2017. The same free services will be available for those displaced by Irma until September 28, 2017. Those with available safe homes can offer their house for free. To access these services, go to this web page or contact the Airbnb line: 1-855-424-7262

2. To aid those trapped in homes and shelters by the floodwaters, telemedicine companies are also offering free, remote physician consultations via phone or video. Until September 8, 2017, individuals and families affected by the storm can get free service through MDLive and Doctor on Demand.

  • For MDLive, call 888-959-9516 and use the code “HARVEY” for a free “visit”

  • For Doctors on Demand, create an account on its website and use the code “HARVEY2017” for a free “visit”

How to Get Insulin and Other Drugs

1. For a list of open pharmacies in the areas hit by Harvey and Irma, click here.

2. Lilly and Direct Relief International are working to distribute insulin and other medications to people who cannot access pharmacies. Additionally, Lilly is offering a program that provides a 30-day supply of insulin at no charge for those whose insurance plans do not have a “disaster override” to replace destroyed insulin. See the hotline number below to access these services.

  • Lilly hotline: 1-800-Lilly-RX; the hotline is open September 10 and 11  between 10 am to 4 pm EST and will be open the rest of the week from 9 am to 8 pm EST. The rep with whom we spoke said to ask for “disaster overrides” if people are able to get to a pharmacy or to speak to their insurer. People should also be in touch with the Red Cross, which has free insulin from Lilly.

3. The Diabetes Online Community on Twitter and Facebook – We have heard of many people with diabetes who were down to their last doses of insulin, reached out on social media, and connected with people that had available supplies. Everyone knows someone with diabetes, so this may be an option in dire circumstances.

4. HelpAround is an app that lets people touched by diabetes scan their surroundings for nearby helpers. It is available on iOS and Android.

Insulin Pump supplies

1. Medtronic has announced a storm hotline to aid customers in need of insulin pump supplies. See the number below to access these services.

  • Medtronic hotline: 1-800-MiniMed, ext. 64545

2. For Insulet’s Omnipod users, local representatives will be distributing supplies in affected areas.

How can you help?

1. Donate insulin (unopened, not expired) or test strips (any kind) to Insulin for Life – download the shipping form here and get insulin packing tips here (it must be kept cool). Thank you to Insulin for Life leaders for their work.

  • Mailing address: 5745 SW 75th Street, #116, Gainesville, Florida, 32608

2. Donate funds

  • For a quick $10 donation to American Red Cross, text “HARVEY” to 90-999

  • For larger donations to the American Red Cross, use this web page

  • To donate to Insulin for Life, click here.

  • For donations to the Greater Houston Community Foundation, use this web page

3. Donate shelter

  • If you have an Airbnb account, you can offer your home for free for those affected by the disaster in certain areas.

We are moved by the diabetes community for so much outreach. More is needed – let us know if we can add to this piece with other resources not mentioned. Thank you for a gift of any size to help people with diabetes and their families and thank you to the ADA/JDRF for their constantly updated advice and help at diabetes.org/hurricanerelief. What a moving outpouring of support, and we hope that a cash donation – even a $1 or $5 one! – by you can make it even stronger.

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