News

How one patient’s love of sports impacts the health of his community

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!

A passion for supporting patients: volunteers go above and beyond

When Jeanette Revoir was looking to volunteer for a community organization, a friend invited her to the annual spring social put on by the Kidney Auxiliary of Puget Sound. She remembers taking a flyer at the event to learn more about the organization that raises money to help patients at Puget Sound Kidney Centers. 16 years later, her everlasting dedication continues to make a positive difference in the lives of PSKC patients.

Jeanette Revoir and Michael Himple.

“Being a member of KAPS and supporting patients needing kidney dialysis at PSKC has been a very rewarding life experience for me,” says Jeanette.

Jeanette and her family have been a part of the community here for years. Her parents immigrated from Holland to Everett, where Jeanette was born and raised. Her parents owned and operated a well-known bakery called Broadway Bakery and the family built a wonderful life together in Everett. That sense of community stayed with Jeanette as she raised a family, built a banking career and volunteered with KAPS. Jeanette joined the board of KAPS and currently serves as Treasurer. Over the years she has led and supported the KAPS’ wreath program, spring social and the Gift of Life annual fundraiser. She even recruited her granddaughter Trinity to help with the wreath program.

“I guess you could say I jumped in with both feet!” she jokingly reflects, and when asked what keeps her going, she says, “knowing I’m really helping people.”

In addition to working with KAPS, Jeanette, along with husband Michael, share a love for family, friends, travel and golf.

Thank you, Jeanette, for all you do in support of PSKC patients!

CKD education program adapts to reach more people with kidney disease

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!

March is National Kidney Month!

One of our free, virtual ‘Survive and Thrive’ classes about chronic kidney disease. Sign up for ​classes at www.pskc.net/classes.

March is National Kidney Month, a time to raise awareness of kidney disease. Learn more about chronic kidney disease — commonly called CKD — and just how vital your kidneys are in making your body function.

What kidneys do

Kidneys filter blood and remove waste. They also control blood pressure, produce red blood cells, balance electrolytes, and help you maintain healthy bones and a normal pH level.

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!

Watch the video below to learn more about these incredible organs.

About chronic kidney disease

Chronic kidney disease happens when your kidneys lose function over time. Although chronic kidney disease is irreversible, it can be slowed. If your kidney function drops to a certain level, dialysis or a kidney transplant is necessary.

The two main causes of chronic kidney disease are diabetes and high blood pressure. Other causes of CKD include inherited diseases, inflammatory diseases and infections.

How to keep your kidneys healthy

1. Keep your salt intake to a minimum. Foods high in salt can put a strain on your kidneys. Try to keep your sodium intake to less than 2,000 milligrams per day. Avoid high-sodium restaurant meals and processed foods. Instead, make meals at home, with healthy ingredients.

2. Watch your blood pressure. Controlling your blood pressure is the single most important thing you can do to help prolong the life of your kidneys.

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

4. If you have diabetes, control your blood sugars. For more than 40 percent of people with kidney failure, diabetes is the cause. Work with your doctor to help control your blood sugar.

5. Exercise regularly. Exercise helps you maintain a healthy weight and controls your blood pressure. Walking, light weights, yoga, gardening — all of these are great ways to get exercise.

6. Avoid over-the-counter anti-inflammatories. If you have chronic kidney disease, avoid anti-inflammatory medications like ibuprofen, Advil and Motrin. If you do not have chronic kidney disease, use these medications only as needed.

7. Have your kidneys checked on a regular basis. Kidney disease is often silent, showing no symptoms until you approach the need for dialysis or transplantation. Having your kidneys checked on a regular basis can help identify problems earlier.

Learn more ways to keep your kidneys healthy

Interested in learning more about kidney health? Consider taking one of our free classes! Our virtual classes include one-hour free webinars on kidney health eating, exercising and more. Visit www.pskc.net/classes to sign up for one of our upcoming sessions!

A dedication to helping others

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!

Fall into flavor! These kidney-friendly recipes are perfect this time of year

Fall has finally arrived in the Pacific Northwest and we couldn’t be more excited. With the crisp, clean air and changing color of leaves, it’s time to dust off those autumnal meals. Tired of all your old favorites? Don’t despair – we recently added some scrumptious new recipes to the recipe section of our website, delicious, low-sodium recipes that suit most kidney diets. These recipes were developed by Chef Duane Sunwold who has chronic kidney disease and understands firsthand the importance of creating tasty food that follows the kidney diet. As always, check with your doctor to make sure these recipes are OK for you and if they are, enjoy their bright, tasty flavors!

 

Ranch Dip

Most store-bought ranch dressings and dips are packed with salt. This recipe for ranch blend cuts the salt but not the flavor and is ideal for mixing with Greek yogurt, sour cream or mayonnaise to create ranch dip. Slice up some veggies and you’re good to go!

 

Roasted Cauliflower, Carrots & Onions

Roast these vegetables in the oven or on the barbecue – they’re delicious either way! Roasting vegetables adds flavor without adding salt and is a great way to add texture to meals. Pro tip: when preparing this dish, chop extra vegetables up and pop them in the freezer to make future meal prep even easier. Check out the full roasted cauliflower, carrots and onions recipe and give it a try sometime soon.

 

Creamy Lemon Salmon Pasta


This citrusy pasta dish is light and bright and, with a vegetable and protein mixed in, has everything you need for a complete meal. Plus, it’s simple to make – just nine ingredients, most of them likely in your pantry already. Check out the full creamy lemon salmon pasta recipe today 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.

New nutrition videos from renowned chef showcase ways to cook tasty food for the kidney diet

Nutrition plays a key role in keeping kidneys healthy. A healthy lifestyle along with a diet low in sodium and full of fresh, unprocessed foods can help you maintain kidney function. However, if your kidneys do fail, you’ll need to make changes to your diet. When kidneys fail, they can no longer process wastes as well and when waste builds up, it can make you sick and damage your heart other parts of your body. The good news is, what you eat has a huge impact on the amount of waste that builds up in your body. By changing your diet, you can lower the amount of waste and slow your kidney disease down. Renowned Chef Duane Sunwold did just that and he’s on a mission to show others how to as well. Check out three of Chef Duane’s cooking videos below to get tips on cooking for the kidney diet.

Power Up With Plant Protein

Protein is an important part of the kidney diet. Did you know you can get protein from plants? Plant-based protein is very healthy and your kidneys love it! Watch to learn more about plant-based protein and get tips for cooking with it from Chef Duane.

Eating On A Budget

Eating healthy doesn’t have to break the bank. In this video, Chef Duane discusses food mapping, how to cook on a budget and ways to utilize food you typically find in your food pantry.

Flavor Boost Your Food

Low-sodium cooking does not equal low taste. By cutting the salt, you’ll keep your kidneys healthy. But how do you add flavor to your foods without adding salt? Chef Duane tells you how.

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.

Watch that salt! Five tips for keeping your sodium to a minimum

There is one primary change we can all make to help keep our kidneys healthy and that is to cut the salt! A diet high in salt makes it harder for kidneys to remove toxins and excess fluid and when those build up in your body, your blood pressure increases. High blood pressure is a leading cause of chronic kidney disease. To help manage your blood pressure, your daily goal should be to consume less than 2,000 milligrams of sodium — your doctor may recommend even less. The good news is, there are many ways to keep salt to a minimum in your diet – and you don’t have to sacrifice taste one bit.

Five tips for keeping salt out of your diet

  1. Cook at home from scratch. Restaurant meals are often laden with salt. One of the best ways to lower your salt intake is to cook at home using fresh, unprocessed ingredients.
  2. Drain canned goods. Canned goods can make cooking easier but to preserve those foods, salt is added. Drain and rinse beans and other canned foods to remove added salt.
  3. Throw out packaged seasonings. It’s easy to add seasoning packs to foods without even thinking. But more often than not, these spice packs are loaded with salt. Instead, mix up your own spices to season meat or vegetables. We’ll even help get you started – try our American Favorite Spice Blend on meat, fish or in soups.
  4. Read the label. Before you purchase any foods from the grocery store, take a look at the nutrition label. Compare nutrition labels of similar products to find the one lowest in sodium.
  5. Keep a journal. It’s hard to keep track of the sodium you’re eating. One way to help monitor the salt in your diet is to write it down. After every meal, jot down the sodium you just consumed. This will help you see how much sodium you eat each day, and identify meals that are high and low in sodium — making it easier to meal plan the next time you go to the store.

Whether you have chronic kidney disease or not, paying attention to what you eat can have an enormous impact on your health. Talk to your dietitian or doctor to make sure you are following a diet that’s right for you. Stick with it and let us know how it goes! Share your experiences with us on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter.

5 simple exercises you can do anywhere

It’s a fact – exercising regularly provides so many benefits, especially for your physical and mental health. Most people, no matter your age, weight or existing health issues, feel better after exercise. People living with chronic kidney disease are no exception. But if you’ve never had a regular exercise regime, it’s important to ease into exercise very slowly. Starting out too strong can result in injuries and turn you off exercise, so talk to your doctor about creating an exercise plan that’s right for you.

Benefits of exercise

People that exercise often:

    • Have more enthusiasm and optimism.
    • Find it easier to handle stress and anxiety.
    • Feel stronger and less tired.
    • Sleep better.
    • Experience reduced muscle cramps and joint pain.
    • Have a better appetite and digestion.
    • Have an enhanced mental attitude.

Five exercise activities you can do at home

The good news: you don’t have to sign up for an expensive gym membership to exercise. There are many simple exercise activities that you can do from the comfort of your own home or neighborhood! Here are some of our favorites.

  1. Yoga. Yoga is a fantastic way to stretch muscles you might not even know need stretching. It’s also great for getting rid of stress, focusing on your breathing and being in the moment. There are great beginner yoga videos out there – search online to find one that suits you. There are also many yoga instructors that offer online classes for free or a small fee. Even just 10 minutes of yoga can make you feel more centered and relaxed. If your mobility is limited, search for ‘chair yoga’ – many yoga poses can be modified for limited mobility while sitting in a chair.
  2. Lift weights. Strength training not only builds muscle but it also provides a better range of motion and, if done correctly on a regular basis, can reduce the likelihood of injury. It’s also a great activity because it can be done anywhere. Start light – even a can of food in each hand will do.
  3. Garden. Here’s a win-win – gardening! Not only will you have some beautiful flower beds or vegetables at the end, you’ll get a workout in as well. Pulling weeds and planting seeds is a great way to use arm and back muscles. Just make sure not to overdo it – it’s easy to overextend yourself. Build up to longer stints in the garden over time. And make sure to invest in some kneeling pads – a great added comfort when weeding on your knees.
  4. Walking. Taking a walk allows you to not only get in some exercise but also breathe in some fresh air and be out in nature. If there are trails nearby, then head to the woods; if not, even a short few laps around your neighborhood offers you the chance to stretch your legs and get in a bit of cardio. Play a podcast or some tunes if you’re heading out solo, or get to know your neighbors by asking them to join you.
  5. Zumba®. For those who love to crank up the tunes while they workout, look no further than a Zumba® class! There are plenty of classes for free using Zoom so there’s no need to even leave your home. Zumba® is a great way to learn different styles of dance and get a workout in at the same time. It’s fun, lively and a great way to work up a sweat.

Remember, talk to your doctor to make sure you’re choosing activities that are right for you. Stick with it and you’ll likely start to feel the benefits of exercise after just a few sessions. Let us know how it goes! Share your experiences with us on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter.

A Note on Unity from the CEO:

Together, we are mighty. Please don’t ever forget that basic truth. Together, we are mighty!

As I reflect on our role as a nonprofit provider of health care for patients diagnosed with kidney failure, I want the patients to know, “it doesn’t matter what you look like, or your accent, you are worthy of our very best care, and we will treat you with the dignity and respect you deserve as our fellow man and woman.” That is a solemn promise, one that I am proud to say PSKC lives daily.

Globally and nationally, the things that bind us together, primarily our common humanity, are so much stronger than our differences. As humans, we all want to be respected, treated fairly, but most of all, we want to love and be loved. There is nothing more basic than that feeling of loving someone or being loved.

Regardless of the color of our skin, the way we talk, or the place we were born, we all crave the social contract of caring for each other.

When we create this type of environment where joy and peace can thrive, that is when we are at our best. When we know that we are good to people, we are able to look in the mirror with satisfaction. It has been said, “a clean conscience is the softest pillow,” and I couldn’t agree more with that sentiment. When we know that we have treated people well, when we are “good” to someone, it makes us feel good inside.

So, let us all contribute to peace and prosperity for all. Every one of us has an opportunity to be part of the solution. Around the globe or in this country, looking and sounding different is something we should cherish. It’s something we should celebrate. I mean, think about it, who would want to eat the same food every night? Isn’t the variety, the different colors, tastes, and textures part of the dining experience? It’s no different with people. Let’s celebrate the various colors and sounds of our fellow man.

A celebration is in order!

Warmly and respectfully,

Harold Kelly​
President & CEO