By Joyce Jackson, President and CEO
Northwest Kidney Centers
I am very sad to share news of the passing of Bill Peckham, Northwest Kidney Centers’ emeritus board of trustees chair and maybe the nation’s most famous dialysis patient. Bill started dialysis in September 1990; he lived 28 years because of dialysis therapy. He died on Jan. 18, the birthday of Dr. Belding Scribner, inventor of chronic dialysis therapy.
A celebration of life for Bill Peckham will be held at 2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 24 at Northwest Kidney Centers Seattle clinic, 548 15th Ave., at the corner of Cherry street. Park on street or in Northwest Kidney Centers garage.
Bill is the one person at Northwest Kidney Centers with whom I have worked consistently, regularly and closely for 20 years.
My first day on the job here, September 1, 1998, I sat with Bill through his four-hour dialysis treatment at the Elliott Bay clinic, learning from him how dialysis is done. He soon moved to the newly opened West Seattle clinic, and then to home hemodialysis. He dialyzed at home in West Seattle and in remote parts of five continents during his many travels, which were his passion.
Bill said often, “Dialysis should not take over our lives. Dialysis should enable us to live the life we were meant to live.”
Here are a few more “firsts” and memories about this smart, innovative volunteer and leader:
- Bill led the effort to raise funds from the research task force to prompt the Northwest Kidney Centers board of trustees to commit to founding the Kidney Research Institute. Today we have this stupendous research powerhouse. Bill was absolutely passionate about the need for kidney research to make life better for the future.
- He suggested the idea and made the first financial donation so Northwest Kidney Centers could wire all units for internet access for patients’ use during treatment – a first in the world in 1999.
- His blog, “From the Sharp End of the Needle,” was a regular read for people in the worldwide kidney community.
- He conceived the annual Kidney Health Expo at Century Link Field in the mid-2000s, enticing thousands of people to learn about kidney disease.
- Bill was an active advocate for kidney patients in Washington, D.C. He was never shy about telling his personal story and sharing his expertise about kidney policy from the patient’s point of view.
- Thanks to Bill, Northwest Kidney Centers has had stupendous signs and posters for 20 years for internal celebrations and community events including the Breakfast of Hope and Discovery Gala. He donated his labor, and his employer, Triumph Expo & Events, donated the materials.
- In 2016, when the Breakfast of Hope keynote speaker canceled at the last minute due to illness, Bill saved the day with a stunning account of his rafting trip through the Grand Canyon, interwoven with his philosophy of life.
- Bill served on the Northwest Kidney Centers board, the Foundation Board and as president of the Patients Association. He was the first dialysis patient to chair our board of trustees and is now Emeritus Trustee.
- When a Northwest Kidney Centers delegation of eight visited Singapore in 2004 to learn from the National Kidney Foundation there, Bill dialyzed onsite and helped us compare and contrast. We shared a Singapore Sling (a departure from beer, his favorite drink) at the famous Raffles Hotel.
- He received the Clyde Shields Distinguished Service Award, Northwest Kidney Centers’ highest honor, in 2005. Already a star, he was just getting started with his service to our organization and to empowering kidney patients.
I am so fortunate I got to walk for two decades with Bill Peckham. I will miss him deeply.
For more Bill wisdom and memories, listen to him talk to RSNHope’s Lori Hartwell about his rafting trip, read about the conference room at Northwest Kidney Centers named after him and view a touching tribute from DCI, Inc.’s Dr. Doug Johnson.