My name is Gloria Ponce…

Hello!  My name is Gloria Ponce and I want to share my story with you!

At age 38 (a long time ago), I got a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes. Attempts to get this illness under control progressed from trying to do it with diet and exercise, to oral medications to eventually becoming insulin dependent, approximately 19 years ago.

I am well aware of the devastating health impacts of being a diabetic.  Since my diagnosis, I had been scared of the possibilities of losing a limb, becoming blind or needing dialysis treatment, among many other possible health risks.  So I tried, I really tried.

Living with diabetes had been a rollercoaster for me. I tried the famous no-carb diets, diabetic diets, even fasting, at times.  It is sad to confess but there were also long periods of becoming oblivious to the fact that I was a diabetic:  no medicine, no shots, and no exercise.  I was not even testing to see what my sugar levels were, I got my mind on denial and my body suffered the consequences.

The amount of insulin I was taking lately was so high, it was very difficult for me to lose weight, and the more weight I gained, the more insulin I needed until I became insulin resistant. I was trapped, totally trapped, in a vicious cycle and my health continued to decline.

I was frustrated and scared. Then, everything changed!

On June 20, 2018, I met with a diabetic educator who suggested I try a plant-based diet.  I was very skeptical of a diet that would include fruits because they are so high in sugar and they were to be avoided by diabetics, but she told me it would be ok.

On my way home that afternoon, I stopped by the store and got all kinds of vegetables and fruits.  I was deprived of having fruits for so long; my mouth was watering while shopping for all these previously forbidden foods.

Now, this is how my life changed dramatically!

Before starting my plant-based diet, my glucose readings were averaging 314, with the highest reading reaching a dangerous fasting reading of 490.  My sugar readings at this time average 107!

Not only has my glucose level dropped to almost that of a non-diabetic but my insulin intake decreased from 151 units per day to a mere 40.  And it continues to decrease as I lose more weight.  Oh, yes, I forgot to mention, I lost 13 pounds in three weeks, my energy level is incredibly high, and I feel great. I have not felt this amazing in a very long, long time.

I get emotional just thinking about how this new found control of my diabetes has given me renewed hope that I can do something to improve the quality of my life.  I may even be able to enjoy my grandchildren (all 7 of them) and my great-grandchild a bit longer.


*Please visit with your physician before making any significant dietary changes.*

Read More

Where would we be without Children’s Village?

“We learned about Children’s Village when Shealyn was one month old.  She was diagnosed with Prader-Willi syndrome, a spectrum disorder involving many medical issues.

When we left the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, all of the Children’s Village’s services were set in place for us.  A dietitian helped with weight checks, nutrition, and calculated calories.  A speech and feeding therapist helped with the feeding difficulties.  We also had an occupational therapist to help with low muscle tone and reaching development milestones.

As things progressed we’ve had different challenges along the way.  Shealyn developed scoliosis and had to be in a brace for a little over a year.  When she turned 2, she started speech therapy and hippo therapy, which is horseback riding, to help strengthen her core muscles.  We did this for a little over a year and her spine has straightened out.  She is stronger and brace-free now.

I can’t imagine where we would be today without Children’s Village and its services.  With a new diagnosis and the grieving process that goes with that, there is no way that we could’ve managed to get everything set up and to obtain all the care that was needed.  Without their help, Shea may not be doing as well as she is right now.  Our family coordinator took care of everything and helped set up all of the services and specialists we needed.  We’re very fortunate to have a place like Children’s Village here in Yakima.

In our personal journey with PWS we have been very lucky; it is a spectrum and we have been on the higher functioning side so far.  We constantly push Shealyn and treat her no different than any other child. Even with all these things going on with Shealyn, everything is really good right now and we are on cruise control, in our new way of normal. We do have lots of hope.  Hope for a medication that will help with hunger.  Hope that someday she can attend college if she would like to.  Hope that someday she may be able to live independently and have a job.”

Read More

Diabetes Prevention Program gets CDC recognition

The Diabetes Prevention Program at Virginia Mason Memorial, with funding provided through The Memorial Foundation, has recently been recognized by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as meeting rigorous standards set by the CDC.  Virginia Mason Memorial’s program is the 12th out of 80 in the state of Washington to achieve this status. This is particularly important for those we serve in the Yakima Valley, where 1 in 3 residents is pre-diabetic, and 1 in 11 have diabetes.

Roger Yockey, and his wife, Marilyn, both 78, have both taken the class, and have shed about 168 pounds between them. Roger has successfully moved out of the prediabetes zone!

For Roger, having his wife as his partner in the program made all the difference. “It really helps if you have a partner. Marilyn and I tracked what we ate with a focus on calories and fat. That’s our guide. And in the group sessions, you’re talking to other people and they’re telling you what their experiences have been.”

Read More

Preparing for the future

Thanks to generous community support, Five Wishes Training is offered every first Wednesday of the month from noon to 1pm in the Virginia Mason Memorial auditorium.

You have an opportunity to give your loved ones a tremendous gift of peace of mind, so that during a health crisis they can focus on caring for you and not worrying about making the wrong decisions on your behalf.  Here are a few of the questions advance directives help you with:

  • Who would you want to make decisions for you when and if you are unable to?
  • What sort of medical treatment would you want…or not want?
  • How comfortable do you want to be? If there comes a time to decide whether you would want to be awake or would prefer to be comfortable-would your loved ones know which is important you?
  • How do you want people to treat you if you are unable to explain yourself to them?
  • What do you want your loved ones to know?

If you’d like more information, come to one of the monthly educational opportunities on advance care planning and how you can prepare yourself and/or your loved ones for the future.

For further information about Five Wishes, please contact Laurie Jackson at 575-8035 or

Read More

A legacy of caring

Some people come into our lives and leave footprints on our hearts and we are never the same.  Faye Martin, longtime supporter of The Memorial Foundation, passed away in June, surrounded by love. We were humbled and touched to learn she left a generous bequest to help sustain patient support programs at North Star Lodge.  Mrs. Martin’s gift will provide additional funding for years to come, assuring support for programs such as nutritional supplements, emergency assistance, pharmacy aid and, dietary counseling, and even snacks for infusion patients putting in long, hard days of treatment at North Star Lodge.

Mrs. Martin’s gift is greatly appreciated.  Her bequest leaves a legacy of caring that will help local cancer patients in their journey to wellness.

Read More

Pepsi and Wray’s partner for kids

For 9 years, Pepsi-Cola Bottling Company and Wray’s Market Fresh IGA have partnered to support Children’s Village through an annual fundraising promotion.  Each summer, a portion of Pepsi products sold at Wray’s stores is donated to support the special health care needs of children served at Children’s Village.

Children’s Village serves 6,000 children with special health care needs each year.  This annual donation from Pepsi and Wray’s helps to provide specialized care for children at Children’s Village, with services including specialty clinics and physical, occupational, speech, and behavioral therapies.

Thank you Pepsi and Wray’s!


Photo identifier (left – right):  Mary Lynne Brewington, The Memorial Foundation; Carrie Schilperoot, Children’s Village, Chris Brown, President Wray’s Market Fresh IGA; Greg McDonald, Pepsi-Cola Bottling Co, and Mike Trammell, General Manager, Pepsi-Cola Bottling Co.

Read More

Children’s Village 4th Annual Buddy Walk – October 13

Children’s Village 4th Annual Buddy Walk – October 13











An invitation from Melia…. Peach’s mom!

Come out to the Buddy Walk and support family, friends and loved ones with Down syndrome.  This is a great way to get our community together to celebrate differences!  People with Down syndrome have beautiful spirits, personalities and are full of love! They are really just like everyone else. Our community needs more unconditional love and that is exactly what people with Down syndrome (and other disabilities!) emanate.  Come to join in the fun!!!

~Melia is proud mom to Peach and Coral.  Peach is 3 years old and has Down syndrome.  She is a compassionate, warm little girl with lots of spunk, a dash of sass and a whole lot of energy!

Read More

Pedaling for Parkinson’s

A First-hand Perspective, by Keith Fowler

As a person with Parkinson’s, I know first-hand when trying to exercise by myself that the problems are many, including fatigue, being alone, no competition, and many things that provide distractions.  I have heard people say, (and I am one), they bought a bike, elliptical or whatever exercise equipment and use it for a couple of weeks and then it becomes an expensive clothes hanger.

Through a partnership with the Yakima YMCA, Virginia Mason Memorial, and The Memorial Foundation, the first 12-week exercise program specifically for Parkinson’s patients began in late May at the YMCA.

With the Pedaling for Parkinson’s program, we are able to meet people with the same problems that we can talk to.  People are there to motivate us to do better, we get a sense of competition and gain a better mental outlook. The class is social in nature, which helps – the social aspect of getting together is important.  Besides all that…I feel better!

I see great potential through Pedaling for Parkinson’s and hope more people will participate and benefit, as I have.  It’s a progressive disease; there is no cure.  This program gives you a chance to make some progress.

Join us!  Program coordinators are looking for more participants for the next free 12-week series of Pedaling for Parkinson’s classes.  Sessions are at 9 am Monday, Wednesdays and Fridays at the Yakima YMCA, 5 N Naches Ave.  Questions?  Call Roxann Johnson at the YMCA, 509-248-1202.

Read More

Subaru Loves to Care!

Subaru Image

Through the Subaru Loves to Care initiative, Stewart Subaru of Yakima recently donated 60 blankets for the comfort and care of patients at North Star Lodge Cancer Care Center.  This Subaru program is a partnership with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society to spread hope, love and warmth to those fighting cancer.

For the third year in a row, Stewart Subaru participated in this program donating 170 blankets to date for patients at North Star Lodge!

Thank you Stewart Subaru and the Subaru Loves to Care program!


Read More

Manny was born at only 26 weeks, weighing in at a tiny 2 lbs. 5 oz.

Manny enjoyed his birthday and actually ate some of his birthday cake! This was a big accomplishment for Manny and cause for celebration for him and his family. Thanks to the occupational therapy services he has received at Children’s Village, Manny has experienced success this past year.

Manny was born at only 26 weeks, weighing in at a tiny 2 lbs. 5 oz. As a newborn, he received early intervention services at Children’s Village to help his developmental delays. But then when he was six months old he had a serious lung issue and was rushed to the hospital with trouble swallowing and respiratory failure. He survived this health crisis but needed a g-tube inserted into his stomach so that he could take in nutrition. Since that time, Manny has been coming to Children’s Village to work with an occupational therapist to gain interest in eating solid food. Manny thinks he is just coming to the Village to play, but actually he is gaining food acceptance and learning vital eating skills.

When he first started the therapy, he could not tolerate food textures and really had trouble transitioning from the feeding tube to eating by mouth. With his therapist, he works on sensory therapy and acceptance of different food textures.

A real milestone was the day Manny went to his mom and said, “tummy hungry,” and asked for food! He is touching different textures and has more acceptance of food. His therapist has also helped his parents make changes and adjustments at home to help Manny to eat.

Today, we are happy to report that Manny is eating and doing great. And, he sure enjoyed his birthday cake!

Read More