Top to bottom: Jon today, Jon circa 1983, and Jon with his family.
Meet Jon. M—Jon dialyzes at our Smokey Point Kidney Center and has been coaching basketball, football and baseball since he was 16 years old. At age 4, Jon was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. He credits his love of sports and his participation in sports for making such a difference in his health.
“I know I am still alive because I ran so much playing basketball,” he says.
Jon has lived his entire life in the Tulalip area and still has a hand in coaching the Tulalip Men’s baseball team, even travelling with them recently for a tournament. Players on the team range in age from 17 to 55 and while his son is “officially” their coach, Jon provides input whenever and wherever needed.
He also stays active by attending local games whenever he gets a chance—he recently went to see the Seattle Storm and the Seattle Mariners, and has also gone to see the Everett Silvertips and Aquasox, despite his busy dialysis schedule.
Jon’s coaching experience started when he was the assistant to the Parks and Recreation Department of the Tulalip Tribes—he had a knack for getting kids into sports, even if they were hesitant at first.
“At one point I had 50 kids show up, and I got every one of them involved in some way.”
Jon stopped actively playing when he was in his late thirties and made coaching his focus—he’s since coached basketball, football and baseball teams, proud that they’ve played some of the best teams in the area and even if they did not win, they always kept it close and competitive.
Jon’s impressed with the Tulalip Tribe’s focus in recent years on building new venues for sports, like baseball and football fields with Astroturf, a step up from the muddy fields where Jon played growing up. Jon also has another interest; his 10-year-old grandson has just started playing basketball. The legacy continues!
Sara Prato and Michelle Rowlett, members of our CKD team, and Bob Crabtree from The Road Back to Life hold virtual classes to educate members of the community about chronic kidney disease.
Our very popular Chronic Kidney Disease Survive and Thrive program—which reaches people at many stages of CKD as well as those at risk for it—had planned a major expansion to new communities in 2020. But as we began to roll out the program, plans were halted due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Over the next few months, we transitioned Survive and Thrive to an all-virtual format, ensuring that CKD education would be available to those who need it.
Our web-based virtual program went live in June 2020 and became an immediate success. From June to December 2020, we offered 23 classes (two six-week sessions, five check-in classes and six community classes), attended by 214 people from throughout the Puget Sound region. In the classes, we provided extra learning materials—handouts, recipes and giveaways—to foster a sense of connection between instructors, the virtual classroom and participants at home. Class surveys show that attendees are increasing their knowledge of CKD, learning new lifestyle behaviors to protect their kidneys and working to stay as healthy as possible. An incredible 100% of those attending said they would recommend the program to others!
In 2020, our education team also created a series of videos to support online learning. As we move further into 2021, we plan to continue to expand our virtual program. Our hope is to provide in-person classes again when it is safe to do so but also continue with our virtual format, for those who prefer to learn in the comfort of their homes.
It’s easier than ever to learn more about kidney care through one of our online classes. Register for one of our upcoming classes at www.pskc.net/classes. Wondering which one to sign up for? Survive and Thrive is a six-week program for people with chronic kidney disease stages 2 to 4. By focusing on healthy lifestyle behaviors to protect and stabilize kidney function, the goal of this program is to help people learn lifestyle changes they can make now to help protect their kidneys. For people with chronic kidney disease stages 4 to 5, who will soon start treatment, we offer our Healthy Options classes. In this two-week program, you will learn more about treatment options and to feel better prepared when treatment starts. Family and friends are welcome to join you in either of these programs.
Our Community Classes are for anyone who wants to learn more about how kidneys work, healthy eating and other ways to protect your kidney function.
Learn more and register online at www.pskc.net/classes!
Kidney failure did not come as a surprise for Richard Beach; almost 25 years ago, he was told that his kidneys had begun deteriorating and that one day, he might need treatment. He closely monitored his creatinine levels and was able to put that off for many years.
About two years ago, to learn more about kidney disease and how to live well with it, Richard and his wife attended Puget Sound Kidney Centers’ chronic kidney disease education program, Survive and Thrive. He describes this six-week program as “very concise” and a great way to reteach them how to menu plan, shop, and prepare foods that were tailored to their health needs and, helpfully, how to “cut corners with salt.” Richard really appreciated the PSKC program, taught by various medical professionals, especially the level of detail provided and the amount of time allotted for discussion each week—talking through examples and experiences other patients have had really helped reinforce the impact changing behaviors can have.
Richard is currently retired from the Air Force and a phone company but continues to volunteer his time as a critical member of the Snohomish County Emergency Management team, developing and implementing radio communication for natural disasters, including earthquakes, fires, floods. The team prepares for any situation that communication may be compromised (i.e. loss of internet) so that emergency services can continue to operate and provide help to those who need it. They also look at ways of linking with other networks on the state and federal level, so that key information regarding events can be handled appropriately. He is part of a core group of volunteers who, up until the coronavirus pandemic, were meeting twice a week at Paine Field in Everett. They now still meet once a week but hope to ramp back up in the near future.
These days, Richard dialyzes at Puget Sound Kidney Centers’ Mountlake Terrace facility, having started a couple of months ago, and is feeling better already. Richard, we certainly hope we won’t need your radio skills, though we’re sure glad that you and your team are there in an emergency!