Kidney Center volunteer helps with ‘what needs to be done’

Every week for nearly five years, Virginia Netz has given her time and skills to help others.

Three days each week, as many as 40 hours a month, she has volunteered her time at the Northwest Kidney Center’s Lake City office near Seattle.

“It’s kind of hard to say what I do,” she said. “I see what needs to be done and I just do it.”

Netz, 66, of Lynnwood, first started coming to the center about six years ago to accompany her husband, Paul Netz, during his kidney dialysis treatments.

Those treatments are scheduled three days a week and take about four hours.

Virginia Netz said her volunteer work started simply enough. “I’m not a person just to sit and do nothing,” she said. “I started out helping them get supplies up to the counters. As I learned more about what they were doing, I would do more.”

She helps with paperwork, restocks supplies, and assists about a dozen patients who are undergoing dialysis while she’s there get comfortable.

If a dialysis patient needs ice or paper towels, “I’ll get those,” she said. One of the regular patients “says I’m like an aunt.”

Lara Severn-Schadee, a registered nurse and unit manager of the Lake City Clinic said Netz is “one of those people who’s open-hearted and kind and not looking for any recognition.”

In April, when Netz was informed that she had been named as the Volunteer of the Year, she responded with humility.

“I said, ‘No, give it to someone else,’” she said. “There’s lot of volunteers for the kidney center.”

In fact, Netz is one of more than 600 volunteers who donated more than 8,000 hours at one of the Northwest Kidney Center’s 20 locations in the past year.

About one-third of their time was spent on dialysis operations, such as working with clinic staff, helping patients use a laptop computer or providing rides to treatment appointments.

“It’s very rewarding to be helpful in a situation like that,” Netz said. Without the dialysis services provided at the center, toxins would build up in patients with kidney failure.

“For these patients their life depends on it,” she said. The volunteer work she contributes free up staff to spend more time with the patients.

The importance of the work done by the staff of the kidney center is underscored every time she accompanies her husband for a dialysis treatment.

“If it weren’t for the jobs they do, he wouldn’t be alive,” she said. “Anything I can do to help them is my way of showing my appreciation.”

Sharon Salyer: 425-339-3486; salyer@heraldnet.com.

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