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Daniel and Sylvia’s story

Our patients and their families are our reason for being, and each of them has a story of their own that testifies to the value of our mission in individual lives. Here is the story of one couple’s experience of the PSKC community.

Both born in Austin, Texas, Daniel and Sylvia have a nearly lifelong relationship. In fact, Sylvia vividly remembers the first time she met Daniel.


“I walked into the church talent show holding my mother’s hand and saw this young boy up on stage singing and kicking up his feet dancing to a Righteous Brothers’ song. I just couldn’t stop looking at him.”


She was just five years old.

Daniel and Sylvia eventually found themselves in the same youth group where they began dating.

“I knew right away I wanted to marry her and I put a ring on lay away for two years,” says Daniel.

They married in 1974 and enjoy living in the Pacific Northwest near their daughters and grandchildren.

As a diabetic, when Daniel learned his kidneys were declining and that he would soon be in stage five renal failure, he admits, “I didn’t want to do dialysis. I was going to let myself go,” but he credits his prayer group for encouraging him to fight on. Since then, Daniel has dialyzed many places, but he feels there’s something special about Puget Sound Kidney Centers.


“I’m comfortable at home because no one’s going to care for you like your family, but I have to say I’ve come to feel the same about here. I wish everyone had the level of care that you get at Puget Sound Kidney Centers.”


Sylvia adds, “We have come to feel safe here. To be able to live longer…and be stronger. Had we not had access to dialysis, what would have happened? Dialysis is a miracle.”

Thank you, Daniel and Sylvia, for sharing your story! Hear from more kidney patients about their experiences living with kidney disease. Follow #MyKidneyStory on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

From kids to seniors, how one couple shows compassion for the community

While working at Boeing, Tom and Christy Lee contributed to the Boeing Employee Community Fund, a fund that supports a wide variety of charitable causes in the community. Through this, the Lees saw the impact charitable giving can make in helping people in need. Thus, when they retired, they continued donating to a number of causes, including the Homage Senior Services’ Meals on Wheels program, the Marysville Community Food Bank and an international ministry — of which Tom says, “We buy goats for the ladies in Africa.”

Still, Tom and Christy felt they could do more and came up with the idea of paying off the lunch debts of students at Kellogg Marsh Elementary School, the school their son attended as a child. When they went to the district office to inquire, however, they were surprised to find that the debt for that school was only $259. They then asked how much it would cost to pay off the lunch debt for the whole Marysville School District and were told the total debt was $5,495 for 262 kids in 10 schools. Tom and Christy decided to donate that amount, and felt good knowing that the debt was gone for these kids. Thanks to the Lee’s initiative and generosity, families in the district who were struggling to pay off their children’s lunch debt would have one less worry.

A few years ago, Tom learned that his kidneys were failing and he would need to start dialysis. He fell ill just as he and Christy were getting ready to depart on a long-awaited dream trip to Hawaii. Instead of heading away, they needed to focus on getting Tom healthy enough to qualify for a transplant. Today, Tom is still dialyzing but feeling better and determined to have that great vacation. Meanwhile, he and Christy continue to make a difference in the community by helping others in need.


“I just love the way it makes me feel,” Tom says about donating. “It feels so good and we’re fortunate to be able to help.”


Thank you, Tom and Christy, for the incredible support you have shown this community!

From colony to community: how a former beekeeper keeps buzzing

For more than 40 years, Pedro Lopez — who dialyzes at our Everett center — was an apiarist, otherwise known as a beekeeper. He maintained thousands of hives in tiny Reedley, California, a place known as “The World’s Fruit Basket,” a nod to the town’s fruit cultivation.


“I loved everything about working with the bees,” says Pedro. “I learned something new every day; the bees were excellent teachers.”


Today, Pedro’s nephews Raul and Rafael own and manage his farm, Reynaga’s Bees, and they produce hundreds of pounds of honey every year. Altogether, they maintain over 7,000 hives. With approximately 4,000 bees per hive, that means they’ve got a whopping 28 million bees at work. And boy do they work! The bees can produce, on average, 100 pounds of honey per hive, per year. And that gold equates to a lot of green: a 200-gallon barrel of honey is sold for about $1,800. There is no wealth without risk, though, as Pedro remembers being stung over 200 times on one particular day!

Reynaga’s Bees harvest their honey twice per year, usually in May and August. During the winter, they maintain the hives and routinely feed the bees corn syrup.


During the pollinating season, bees work from sunrise to sundown, unless it’s raining or very cold, and only live for 40 days. To keep the hive “alive,” the queen bee lays approximately 500 eggs per day. The male drone bee who acts as the father is selected from more than 100 drones — some dating pool! It takes 21 days for the egg to grow into the larvae stage, and then “nurse” bees feed and maintain the young with special food until they are ready to go to work.

When bees head out and find the flowers with pollen and nectar that they need to make honey, they report back to the hive and do a special dance to tell other bees the exact location of the specific flower patch they found.

Once the bees collect the nectar and pollen, they are ready to store it in cells within the hive. When the hives are full, bees create a wind with their wings that evaporates all of the water, leaving behind the delicious honey.

These days, Pedro stays busy walking the neighborhood and talking to people about bees.


“One of my transit drivers wants to start keeping bees, and I’ve offered to help teach him and get him started.”


He visits his family in Reedley several times a year and is all set to go again in March, having just celebrated his 90th birthday and 13 years on dialysis!

Isn’t that just bee-utiful!

April 22 is Earth Day and, just like Pedro, this year’s campaign is focused on bringing back the bees! Bees are essential pollinators and unfortunately, the world’s population of bees is declining. One simple way to attract more bees is to plant wildflowers. Visit www.earthday.org/campaigns to read more about bringing back the bees and other campaigns of focus this year.