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Alton man thrives after receiving lifesaving medication


February 03, 2020
February 03, 2020

by Kristen Ryrie

John Sanders went to orientation for his new job and was excited to get started. The next day he woke up feeling drained. He knew his blood sugar was high, but he was hesitant to go to the hospital because his insurance wouldn’t kick in for 90 days.

“When I went to the emergency room, my blood sugar was 800,” says Sanders. “They said, ‘How did you walk in here? You should be in a coma.’ I was terrified.”

Sanders was immediately admitted and spent seven days in the hospital. Before he was discharged, the pharmacy filled his insulin prescription. His bill was $600.

“I thought I’d have to sell my car to pay for my medication,” he says. “I have a 9-year-old daughter, and she is counting on me.”

“The price of insulin has skyrocketed in recent years,” says Lisa James, Alton Memorial Hospital diabetes educator. “One vial of insulin can cost about $230 for those without insurance. When we think of this, we must remember that many people take more than one type of insulin, and depending on their dose, they could be using multiple vials of insulin monthly.”

The AMH Diabetes Education team met with Sanders to teach him about healthy eating choices and encouraged him to apply for assistance for his medication through Alton Memorial Health Services Foundation’s Vera Bock Fund. The fund helps patients with diabetes cover the cost of medication and supplies.

“It felt great to know that there are people out there who are willing to help people like myself who are going through a tough situation,” Sanders says.

This year, the Vera Bock Fund helped 15 patients by paying nearly $5,000 to provide lifesaving medication and supplies.

“I have energy again, high hopes,” Sanders says. “Once I get back on my feet, I want to find a way to give back to the Foundation myself.”

If you’d like to support the Vera Bock Fund, contact Kristen Ryrie, 618-463-7701 or kristen.ryrie@bjc.org.

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