Where there’s a will, there’s a way: Walt’s story

Meet Walt, who has been on dialysis at our Everett dialysis center since October 2013. Believe it or not, he has never missed a single treatment—and that’s something to be proud of!

From 1983 to 1989, while serving as a U.S. marine, Walt travelled around the world in service to his country. His service to others continues today as a member of The Road Back to Life, a mentor program that helps fellow patients cope with the effects of end stage kidney disease (ESKD). In these efforts, Walt has helped recruit new patients to serve as mentors and regularly participates in the mentor group meetings which, now offered online, support kidney patients locally and nationally.

Hoping to qualify for a transplant, Walt is working hard to lose weight. As many of you know, this can be especially challenging when you’re following the renal diet. To support this effort, he has reached out to many popular weight loss programs but has been turned down once he tells them he is a dialysis patient. So, for now, it’s his treadmill and his self-determination that keep him going. Walt believes his commitment to dialysis comes from his upbringing, being raised by his grandparents who survived the great depression. He says he learned a strong work ethic from them which was, “Do it, or don’t do it; pick ONE!” This, and other life lessons he learned as a marine, continue to drive Walt today as he navigates dialysis and the pursuit of a kidney transplant.

Walt also stays busy as the patient representative for his center’s monthly quality improvement meetings. He was recently recognized as a subject matter expert for the Patient Advisory Council and the National Patient and Family Engagement and Action Network. In his spare time Walt loves to cook, for himself and others, and he has put together a cookbook of his many favorite recipes along with a few kidney friendly diet suggestions.

“The world isn’t all sunshine and rainbows,” says Walt, reciting one of his favorite quotes. “No one is going to hit you as hard as life. But it isn’t about how hard you get hit, it’s about how hard you get hit and keep moving forward!”

Definite words to live by! Thanks, Walt, for being an inspiration to us all and for all you do to help others with kidney disease.