Seattle resident David Junker has received the highest honor conferred by Northwest Kidney Centers, the Clyde Shields Distinguished Service Award.
Northwest Kidney Centers gives the annual award to people who make significant contributions to the welfare of kidney patients.
“David Junker is a person who stands out in patient care, advocacy and research,” said Joyce F. Jackson, president and CEO of Northwest Kidney Centers. “We are recognizing him with this award because his example inspires hope in others that they too can live long and well on dialysis.”
Autoimmune problems caused Junker’s kidneys to fail before age 30, and he has visited a dialysis clinic for treatment three times a week for almost 37 years. Only one patient now at Northwest Kidney Centers has been on dialysis longer. Junker never sought a transplant or home dialysis; he believes regular treatment and careful attention to his original vascular access, still working after 36 years, makes in-center treatment the best choice for him.
Employed most recently as a mechanic working on vintage airplane engines, he has juggled work with dialysis treatments in New York, Wisconsin, California and Texas before moving to Seattle and starting dialysis at Northwest Kidney Centers in 2004.
“David is a model for other patients and for how dialysis can work. He has taken care of himself so he can live well despite kidney failure,” said Ed Stauffer, nurse manager of the Northwest Kidney Centers clinic at Northgate where Junker gets his treatments. “He has never missed an appointment. He is a pleasure for the staff to work with. David’s got class.”
Junker has used his health condition to help advance scientific knowledge about kidney disease. He has enrolled in multiple studies at the Kidney Research Institute.
As an advocate, he was the spokesperson in a video for the new Center for Dialysis Innovation, shared his story for Northwest Kidney Centers fundraising, and traveled to Washington, D.C. to advocate for legislation to benefit kidney patients.
About Clyde Shields: The award is named for machinist Clyde Shields, who in March 1960 was the first person in the world to begin dialysis that would sustain his life long-term. He was a patient of the University of Washington’s Dr. Belding Scribner, who had just invented the hardware that allowed repeated connections to the bloodstream. Mr. Shields’ diagnosis of kidney failure would have been fatal, had he not received the first Scribner shunt. With the shunt and regular dialysis, he survived another 11 years. His courage as a research subject made possible great advances in kidney treatment.
About the Clyde Shields Distinguished Service Award: Northwest Kidney Centers bestows the Clyde Shields Distinguished Service Award on a living individual who has contributed significantly to the welfare of kidney patients through advocacy, clinical care or research. Factors considered are length of service, number of people impacted, awards or citations, humility and perseverance. Past awardees include patients, volunteers, staff members, scientists and supporters.