Focus on St Christopher Truckers Development and Relief Fund
St Christopher is the patron saint of travelers and by order of the Vatican, the designated patron saint of truckers. The Relief Fund is a non-profit corporation (501(c)(3)) which delivers financial aid to professional drivers with medical issues and who cannot afford the treatment or to carry the cost of insurance.
In addition the St Christopher Truckers Development and Relief Fund also carries out medical and healthcare research which will help truckers in direct need and drivers generally.
A massive 70% of the over 3 million truck drivers in the United States are considered to be suffering from at least one serious health issue ranging from obesity, sleep apnea and other sleeping disorders, cardiovascular problems and diabetes. Given the fact that truckers are continuously on the road, access to medical care and doctors appointments is problematical for most drivers.
Irregular working hours, long periods away from base and home, and the inability or inconvenience of using a big rig to make a visit to the doctor or medical care provider, all mitigate against truckers receiving professional medical care that the rest of Americans take for granted. It is not just access to doctors and hospitals which causes issues, but to the ancillary medical support services too, such as pharmacies and out-patient clinics.
There is also the further problem associated with approximately one-third of drivers who are without health insurance.
The problems associated with life on the road mean that truckers are unable to gain access to medical care when their illnesses are in the early stages or for preventative check-ups. This results in existing conditions becoming steadily worse with relatively minor ailments deteriorating into major concerns. In extreme cases, which are all too commonly seen, the lack of medical treatment results in conditions becoming so bad that the trucker loses their license and loses their income but is still unable to access medical treatment or ultimately, lengthy spells in hospital or permanent disability. In other instances, struggling owner-operators are forced to put up their truck for sale, which they rely upon for their very business.
The Fund was started in 2007 by Dave Nemo (a radio celebrity – the Dave Nemo Show) and "Dr John" McElligott who is the chairman of the Professional Drivers Medical Depots. The help they provide is either direct payment of medical bills for care and prescriptions as well as help with meeting bills while laid up recovering from illness. In addition, they do much needed work in negotiating with insurance companies to reduce the level of premiums so truckers can gain access to coverage and also with hospitals and medical service providers. OOIDA is also a corporate sponsor amongst several others.
You can make a donation to the fund directly by sending it to:
St Christopher Trucker Development and Relief Fund P.O. Box 30763 Knoxville TN 37930 Tel: 865 202 9428
You can also make a donation direct through their website which is at http://www.truckersfund.com/