April is National Donate Life Month: help spread the word about organ donation

April is National Donate Life Month: help spread the word about organ donation

All month, we’re helping raise awareness of organ donation and the power it has to literally change a life. National Donate Life Month is a great time to register as an organ, eye and tissue donor and to celebrate the power that donation has on so many families in need. This year’s theme is centered around a springtime garden and how its ecosystem of plants, insects and other components work together – similar to how we can all work together to register as organ donors and raise awareness of the importance of organ donation.

Register as an organ donor

Registering to be a donor is simple – just visit RegisterMe.org, fill out the form provided and let your friends and family know about your wishes to donate your organs when you pass away.

Consider becoming a living donor

More than 100,000 people in the United States alone are on the transplant list, waiting for an organ transplant from a deceased donor. Most of the people on the list are waiting for a kidney. The good news is, most of us were born with two! If people waiting for either a kidney and or liver transplant find a living kidney donor, they usually get a better quality organ much sooner. If you’re interested in learning more about becoming a living donor, visit www.donatelifenw.org.

Help advocate for organ donation

What can you do now to support organ donation? Help us spread the word about it during National Donate Life Month! Check out Donate Life America’s infographic below and share these facts with your friends and family to raise awareness about the need for organ donation. And you can take part in the conversation about organ donation this month – join us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

The Harned family: a tradition of giving

Within the first few moments of meeting Max Harned, you recognize an incredible energy and passion for life and community. Born and raised in Tacoma, Max credits his family upbringing with his passion for community. His late father, John Harned, and his Uncle Joe Harned, served in the military and settled in the Tacoma area. They each built successful businesses in Pierce County, and with that success they began a family tradition of helping the community through philanthropy.


We share the family traits of a remarkable work ethic and a commitment to education and giving back to the communities we live in.” –Max Harned


Max and Margi Harned at the Lakewood ribbon cutting ceremony Oct. 3, 2019.

Their philanthropy has benefited many organizations, and the Harned family name graces prominent education buildings, programs and scholarships that benefit student education at the University of Puget Sound, St. Martin’s University, and Tacoma Community College. In addition to these educational projects, Max has recently extended his benevolence to include the Puget Sound Kidney Centers.

Max first learned about Puget Sound Kidney Centers when he was approached about selling his land for a new nonprofit dialysis center to be built in Lakewood. Recognizing the need and impressed with the mission of PSKC, he not only sold his property to PSKC, but he also decided to serve as volunteer, joining both the PSKC Foundation Board and the PSKC board.

Retired after a successful career in marketing, Max devotes time to being with his wife and family and to serving the community. In addition to his volunteer work with PSKC, he serves on the board of Tacoma Community College Foundation and the Board of Trustees for the King County Library system. When he presents to student groups, Max emphasizes the importance of philanthropy with a favorite quote by Sir Winston Churchhill, “We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.”

Today, he and his wife Margi, a former educator, jointly support the needs of the local community, recently funding a food pantry program at Tacoma Community College.


“Max and I are so very blessed. The best gift we can give is to share our blessings.” –Margi Harned


Max, Joe and Margi Harned testing out one of the Lakewood heated dialysis chairs that they helped raise money to purchase.

In this spirit of generosity, Max and Margi recently donated and raised funds for new heated dialysis chairs for patients at our new Lakewood dialysis center.

Thank you, Max and Margi, for all you do for the community!

You too can help make a difference in the lives of people with kidney disease. More than half of our patients are in need of financial aid. Financial gifts allow us to provide our patients with the additional support they need. Donations help support our charity care program and help us educate those at risk for kidney disease in our community. They also help ensure our clinics have state-of-the-art equipment, like heated dialysis chairs that bring added comfort to patients during dialysis.

Help support our mission to enhance the quality of life of those with kidney disease through outstanding dialysis care, education and community support.

Donate to Puget Sound Kidney Centers today.

Raise awareness of kidney health on March 12, World Kidney Day

Kidney health for everyone, everywhere is the theme of this year’s World Kidney Day, celebrated March 12 and a chance for all of us to remind ourselves of just how important these bean-shaped organs are.

 

What your kidneys do

Kidneys filter blood and remove waste. They also balance electrolytes, control blood pressure, produce red blood cells and help you maintain healthy bones, among other things.

One fifth of the blood pumped by your heart goes to the kidneys, where it is processed and filtered. Excess water, salt, minerals and waste are sent to the bladder as urine and ‘clean’ blood is returned to circulation. It takes just five minutes for all of your blood to be filtered by the kidney which means in 24 hours, your kidneys will filter all of your blood 288 times!

Most people are born with two kidneys, although you need just one functioning kidney to live a normal, healthy life.

How to keep your kidneys healthy

The good news is, you can do a lot to help your kidneys stay healthy.

1. Eat less salt. Foods high in salt make your kidneys work harder. Try to keep your sodium intake to less than 2,000 milligrams per day. Eat out less (restaurant meals are loaded with salt) and instead, cook from scratch at home.

2. Watch your blood pressure. High blood pressure causes kidney disease. Manage your blood pressure and get it checked regularly.

3. If you have diabetes, control your blood sugars. For more than 40 percent of people with kidney failure, diabetes is the cause. Uncontrolled diabetes can also lead to heart disease, blood vessel disease, loss of limbs and blindness.

4. Stop smoking. Smoking greatly increases your risk for all kidney-related problems, including heart disease.

5. Exercise regularly. Work with your doctor to create an exercise plan that works for you. Exercising on a regular basis and maintaining a healthy weight can help keep your kidneys healthy.

Get your kidneys checked

Simple urine and blood tests can check your kidney function. Ask your doctor at your next check-up. Catching kidney disease early is key, as you might be able to slow it down with simple lifestyle changes.

If you’re at risk for kidney disease, or it runs in your family, don’t wait – make an appointment to get tested today.

Help us spread the word about kidney disease – join the conversation on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Our Lakewood center opens its doors, a beautiful new facility to serve Pierce County patients

About the state-of-the-art center

On Oct. 3, 2019, over 100 people came out to celebrate the opening of our new dialysis center in Lakewood, WA. Guests enjoyed tours and refreshments at this beautiful facility. At full capacity, this new 29-station dialysis center will accommodate up to 174 in-center dialysis patients. The center, designed by Botesch, Nash & Hall, was created to be a warm, welcoming and comfortable environment for patients and visitors.

“This new facility reflects our ongoing desire to provide a high quality and beautiful care environment for our patients, all in an effort to enhance their quality of life,” says Harold Kelly, PSKC president and CEO.

The 18,150 square foot facility includes three isolation rooms and a permanent bed for patients who need to lie down during dialysis. The facility will house a specialized training area for home dialysis patients, and the center will host free kidney health education classes for patients and the broader community.

Left: Harold Kelly, president and CEO at PSKC, addresses the crowd at the opening ceremony. Right: Our Lakewood staff are ready to serve our new patients in the area.

Introducing our Lakewood medical director

Dr. Ramon Anel has practiced for over 24 years, specializing in critical care medicine and nephrology. He graduated from the University of the Philippines Manila College of Medicine and completed his residency at Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center in Chicago. Dr. Anel currently practices with the Providence Medical Group in Olympia.

Medical directors are an important part of the Puget Sound Kidney Centers team as they are responsible for assuring the safety and quality of care patients receive at each unit. They are also responsible for implementing the quality advancement projects that assure PSKC continues to identify areas for improvement and innovation. In this capacity, Dr. Anel serves along with a team of professionals that include nurses, technicians, renal dietitians and social workers.

“Dr. Anel has been instrumental in introducing PSKC to the Lakewood community,” says Jenni Tyner, director of nursing at PSKC. “We are delighted to partner with him as we serve the dialysis community of Lakewood.”

Welcome, Dr. Anel, and thank you for your leadership.

Puget Sound Kidney Centers has seven dialysis centers in Washington state. See where we’re located and learn more about us. You can even follow us on social media – we’re on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest.

Low-salt, kidney-friendly holiday treats for all to enjoy


The holidays are upon us and that means lights, decorations and holiday gatherings to attend. For many people with kidney disease, get-togethers with food can be stressful – it’s hard to know if anything on the menu will be kidney-friendly. Well, worry no more – the newly updated recipe section of our website has many delicious, low-sodium recipes perfect for the holidays. So the next time you’re tasked with bringing a tasty treat to a party, try out one of the following:

 

No-Bake Peanut Butter Chocolate Protein Bars

We love these protein bars – they’re delicious, packed with protein and so easy to make! No need to turn the oven on – there’s no baking required with these bars. Just remember to make them a bit in advance as they need a few hours to chill before being served. Here’s the full peanut butter chocolate protein bar recipe, a must try for all looking for a sweet-but-not-too-sweet treat this holiday season.

 

Lemon Loaf

This bright and citrusy dessert is perfect for a party. Not too heavy, it’s great to pair with tea or coffee at the end of the evening, or served in slices at a potluck. Just scrumptious! Check out the full lemon loaf recipe and give it a try sometime soon.

 

Cool Whip Ice Cream Sandwich

ice cream sandwich
Who says cold desserts have to be a summer thing? Not us! These delicate cool whip sandwiches are light enough while completely satisfying that post-dinner sweet tooth many of us have. If you’re bringing these to a party to share, simply pop the frozen cool whip dish back into the freezer when you arrive and make them to order post-meal. They’re sure to be a hit and they’re kidney-friendly. Check out the full cool whip ice cream sandwich recipe and give it a try.

 

What recipes do you like best this time of year? We’d love to hear them — share your ideas with us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Living Life to the Fullest

Musician, actress, singer, poet, activist, student and social worker are all titles held by Andrea Skywalker over the course of her extraordinary life. Born in Germany to a German mother and a Black American/Cherokee father, she credits her father’s military background and her mother’s meticulous nature with instilling in her a discipline and drive that would help her pursue her many interests. She has traveled extensively, and, with a degree in Human Services, she has enjoyed a long career as a social worker for the State of Washington. During her tenure as a social worker, she worked with victims of domestic violence, seniors and other people in need. “I like helping people who can’t help themselves.” She adds, “I want to leave something positive and beautiful in this world to promote unity.” Andrea enjoys the performing arts and has appeared on the stage and screen as a singer, musician and actress. She continues to perform at local venues.

In 1999 she suffered a major stroke which left her in the hospital for 2 months. She had to re-learn how to walk, talk and function, and her determination would be essential in her rehabilitation efforts, “As soon as I could walk, I went back to work. Never give up” she advises based on her own experience. When her doctor told her six years ago that her kidney function was declining and she should prepare for dialysis, Andrea was adamant that dialysis was not for her and she managed to keep her kidneys functioning for six more years. Eventually her kidneys would fail and she was faced with the ultimate choice. At this point, she did choose to continue living with the aid of dialysis treatments; “I decided I’m too busy to die.” Just a few months after beginning dialysis Andrea celebrated the debut of her first book, entitled “The World As I See It.” Now Andrea has just completed a second book and will soon be recording a music CD. She shares, “Even though dialysis is time consuming and takes up three days of each week, I often think about where I’d be without the dialysis. I choose to be grateful and to be happy that I’m still alive.

Enjoy a poem from Andrea’s new book, “The World As I See It”:

I’M SUPPOSED TO LIVE
I GOT THINGS TO GIVE
I GOT PLACES TO SEE
DON’T YA KNOW
I GOT PLACES TO GO
IN WIND – RAIN – AND SNOW
AND THE CLOCK KEEPS TICKING
REAL SLOW

WHEN I WAS 63
I WAS TIRED AND CRANKY
AND MY PRESSURE
WAS WAY TOO HIGH
AS MY KIDNEYS WERE FAILING
AND I LAY AILING
I WOKE UP AND SAID
NO – I’M NOT GOING TO DIE

I’M SO LUCKY I GET A SECOND CHANCE
TO WALK AND TALK
AND LEARN HOW TO DANCE
MAYBE FIND A LITTLE ROMANCE
TO APPRECIATE EACH MOMENT AND SAY
HOW ARE YOU TODAY

LET’S TAKE A CHANCE
AND DANCE THE NIGHT AWAY
CAUSE I’M SUPPOSED TO LIVE

By Andrea Skywalker @2017

Tasty low-sodium, kidney-friendly recipes for fall

In many parts of the country, the weather is changing – the sunny days of summer are being replaced by brisk, crisp days of fall. Instead of barbecues and picnics, it’s time for slow cooker meals, soups and casseroles. If you have kidney disease and follow a low-sodium diet, rest assured – the newly revamped recipe section of our website has many tasty, kidney-friendly recipes perfect for fall and every season. Here are just a few of our fall favorites:

 

Overnight WafflesOvernight waffles

Crazy mornings, getting kids off to school, yourself off to work — or both? Take breakfast out of the equation and make those mornings just a little bit simpler. Most of this waffle recipe can be made the night before. Just add the eggs in the morning, pop the batter into your waffle maker and, once cooked, top with fresh berries. Absolutely delicious! Check out the full overnight waffle recipe and try these sometime soon.

 

Hearty Chicken Noodle Soup

Chicken noodle soup

Fall is all about soups and chicken noodle is an absolute staple. The best part? Soup just keeps getting better and better as days go on and flavors develop, so making a large batch of this over the weekend to have for lunch throughout the week is a win-win. You won’t need to think of a lunch meal each day, and you’ll have a hot meal packed with flavor to devour come lunchtime. If you’re working, simply heat this up in the morning and pour it into a thermos to take to work. Here’s the full chicken soup recipe, a must try for all looking for a kidney-friendly soup this fall.

 

Crock-Pot Pot Roast with Vegetables

We just love a good slow cooker meal and this one does not disappoint. Simply add ingredients to your Crock-Pot in the morning and, come evening, you’ll have a delicious, tender roast and vegetables for dinner. If you want to sear the roast before, or add potatoes, you can but even as is, this roast is flavorful, low in salt and kidney-friendly. Take a look at the full pot roast with vegetables recipe and give it a try.

 

Apple Cranberry Cobbler

cobbler

A slice of apple cobbler is the perfect dessert for fall. Having guests over? Make this the night before, then pop it in the oven to warm before you serve it. Add the maple cream (the recipe includes this tasty topping) and you’re sure to have friends asking you for the recipe. So what are you waiting for? Check out the full apple cranberry cobbler recipe, head to the store for ingredients, and make this tasty treat this fall.

 

What recipes do you like best this time of year? We’d love to hear them — share your ideas with us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Step into Fall: exercise tips for dialysis patients

Exercise is important for everyone but especially for people on dialysis. For most, dialysis requires sitting in one place for four to five hours at a time. It can also make you feel drained and tired. Once you’ve rested and recovered from your treatment, focus on exercise. Get moving so your endorphins can kick in and give you energy. Exercise can also help you sleep better and lower your blood pressure and blood sugar.

Here are our ideas for exercises you can do in the fall. As always, run your exercise plan by your doctor to make sure its OK for you.

1. If the weather’s nice, go for a hike or a walk around your neighborhood. If you’re on dialysis at a center, chances are your days are pretty packed. If you’re feeling energetic, head to a local trail for a walk in the woods. Or, there’s no need to hop back in the car – just head outside and walk your neighborhood.

2. Stretch, stretch, stretch. There’s a reason people love yoga so much. It’s a great way to stretch so many muscles in your body. Stretching can also make you feel more relaxed and less stressed, and you can do it from just about anywhere. Check with your doctor if you’re unsure of the stretches to do.

3. Lift light weights. Building, strengthening and toning muscle can increase blood flow and make you stronger. You can even do it in front of the TV! Start slow and take your time. Don’t have weights? Grab some canned food to use!

4. Weed your garden. Head outdoors and spend some time preparing your garden for next year’s crop. You’ll thank yourself come spring, and you’ll be getting some exercise now! Weed, rake and breathe in that crisp fall air.

5. Dance. Dancing is one of the best ways to get a workout in – and it’s fun! Crank up the tunes and dance around your house. Just keep moving and you’ll be getting a workout done in no time.

Remember, exercising should be a bit of a challenge but if you’re out of breath, feeling any pain, or have swelling or blurred vision, stop right away and call your doctor.

What exercises do you like best this time of year? Let us know! Share your ideas with us on social media – Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. We’d love to hear from you!

Top ten tips for people starting dialysis

Dialysis can be daunting – learning more about it and understanding your options might help you feel calmer and better prepared. Here are ten ways to get ready for dialysis.

1. Find a kidney doctor if you don’t already have one. A nephrologist — a kidney doctor — is an expert on kidney care. If you’re in the Pacific Northwest, use our search tool to find a nephrologist near you.

2. Learn about your treatment options. If you need dialysis, there are different options that might work for you. Learn about home dialysis and in-center dialysis, then talk to your kidney doctor about what could work best for you.

3. Meet with a nutritionist at your dialysis center to discuss the kidney diet. If you need dialysis, you’ll likely benefit from changing your diet. Eating the right foods while on dialysis will help you feel better.

4. Take a class about kidney health. There are many resources out there to help you learn how to feel good while on dialysis. Sign up for our free classes to understand your treatment options, how diet and exercise can make you feel better, and other ways to help slow the progression of your kidney disease.

5. Try to create a dialysis schedule around work and regularly scheduled activities. Dialysis is time-consuming but it doesn’t have to mean you’ll miss out on all your usual activities. Work with your dialysis care team to find a treatment schedule that helps you stay involved with work and your community.

6. Talk to the care team at your dialysis clinic about insurance. Speak with members of your dialysis clinic’s financial team to learn about Medicare and what kidney care it covers. 

7. Talk to someone who has been on dialysis. One of the best ways to understand what dialysis is like is to chat with people who are also on it. While undergoing treatment, talk to others who are dialyzing to get tips from them. Or, meet up with someone from The Road Back to Life, a group of people with kidney disease who have been on dialysis or received a kidney transplant.

8. Find recipes that follow your kidney diet and stock up on those foods. There are some absolutely delicious foods that align with the kidney diet. Check out our kidney-friendly recipes for some to try.

9. Make an exercise plan with your doctor. Fitness is important for everyone, including people on dialysis. Regular exercise — even short walks or stretching — will help you feel better and could help slow your kidney disease down. Work with your doctor to create a fitness plan that works for you.

10. Be your own advocate. No one knows you better than you. If something isn’t going well for you, speak up. Talk to your nephrologist or the kidney care team at your dialysis center to see how your care plan could change to make you feel better.

 

Although adjusting to being on dialysis can be difficult, there’s a community of people here to help. You’re not alone with your disease — talking with others and sharing your own experiences can help. Search, and share your own story, with #MyKidneyStory on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Keep cool when it’s hot: tips for dialysis patients

When you’re on dialysis, it can be difficult to manage your fluid intake and when it’s hot out, that becomes an even bigger challenge. It’s good to have a list of ways to keep cool on those hot summer days so you’re not tempted to go over your fluid limit. Below are some of our favorite ways to keep cool without gulping down more drinks.

1. Freeze fruit⁠ — like strawberries, raspberries or blackberries ⁠— to suck on when you’re thirsty.

2. Measure out your daily water limit and pour it into an ice cube tray. (Ice cubes last longer than sips of water.)

3. Stay in air-conditioned places like malls or grocery stores.

4. Take a cool bath or shower and let your hair air dry instead of using a hairdryer.

5. Cool a washcloth and drape it over your forehead, then sit in front of a fan.

6. Wear lightweight clothing.

7. If you have diabetes, pay close attention to your blood sugar as high blood glucose can make you extra thirsty.

8. Avoid spicy foods.

9. Stay away from strenuous activity so as not to dehydrate your body further.

10. Suck on a lemon or lime to quench your thirst.

How do you stay cool during the hot summer days? We’d love to hear your creative ideas! Share your tips with us via Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.