Lee can do all this because he has access to lifesaving dialysis care close to home.

When he was six years old, Lee learned he had type 1 diabetes—a disease that would affect him for the rest of his life. In the four decades since, he’s required a number of medical interventions at RVH to help keep him healthy.

“I’ve been diabetic for 40 years,” shares Lee. “I don’t know life without it. It caused me to lose vision in my left eye and I’m considered legally blind in my right.”

Complications of the illness have robbed Lee of most of his sight, and about five years ago, led him to develop kidney disease. Within the last year, he has come to rely on dialysis to help his body compensate for the work his kidneys are no longer able to do.

“If it wasn’t for the nurses, doctors, and my social worker, this would not be easy,” offers Lee. “We joke around, but they are always completely on the ball with my care. The staff and their knowledge of the equipment is amazing. I can’t say enough about how much they do for me.”

Every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, Lee heads to RVH for his four-hour hemodialysis appointments.

“I usually grab a coffee and sit in the waiting room until I’m called in,” he explains. “I chat with the other patients. We get to know each other. When I’m hooked up to the machine, I read, watch Netflix, and just try to pass the time.”

For most people, this demanding treatment regimen would be crushing. Lee isn’t most people.  He’s grateful for the support of his wife, Sarah, and his care team at RVH. He knows that without both, he wouldn’t be able to live the life he loves.

“Right now, this is what it’s going to take for me to be healthy,” he says with acceptance. “My hope is that in five years, I’ll have had a transplant and be past all this.”

While Lee waits for a new kidney, he can do the things that bring him joy, like spending time casting a line with his buddies and settling into his new life as a husband. Lee is living his wild life every day, thanks to the specialized kidney care he receives right here in his own backyard.