DaVita Stories

Reflections on DaVita’s Circle of Life

Alissa’s proud big brother shows her off to their grandparents for the first time in April 1991.

Reading a blog post by Dr. Paul, a clinical psychologist with The Everett Clinic, a DaVita Medical Group, really got me thinking—thinking about how grateful I am to be part of a team that truly cherishes the circle of life. Dr. Paul shared about his experience in recently becoming a grandparent and I couldn’t help but share in his emotions, as I made my parents grandparents in September 2015 when my son was born.

I am relatively new to the DaVita Village, but have long heard about their stellar culture. Aside from the throwback to tear-filled eyes as I heard my son cry for the first time, Dr. Paul’s post made me really appreciate that DaVita values work-life balance and understands that there isn’t a switch that is flipped between the two: work is a part of life and life inevitably affects work.

How much more so this must be for our teammates working in our Kidney Care centers. You see, I understand that side of our work, too. In 2009, my family lost our patriarch, my Grandpa Hooper. For eight years, Grandpa made trips into town to his dialysis center multiple times a week.

Perhaps equally as hard as losing a grandparent is watching their partner grieve and feeling helpless. Grandma tried to stay strong for our family, but I can still see the way she threw herself onto his casket to say one last goodbye through muffled sobs to this day. I still remember how, in driving some younger cousins to have a sleepover at her house that first night so she wouldn’t be alone, she said goodnight and shut the door to her bedroom, weeping as quietly as she could so we wouldn’t overhear.

Dialysis can take a toll on everyone involved. The patient, their family, and the clinic staff who interact with them each visit. How important and valuable it is, that we don’t just look at kidney care as “business as usual.” My grandmother still keeps in touch with the other ladies who practically made a part-time job out of knitting in the lobby and getting to know each other while waiting for their husbands to complete their dialysis transfusions. She still attends grief group when the pain gets to be too much.

It is incredibly meaningful to me to work for an organization that not only supports giving me time to spend with my son, but also stays true to their cause: patients and their families. Although the pain of end-of-life can sometimes be too much to bear, it is very rewarding to me to know that through a Village Program called the Circle of Life, DaVita holds regional and national memorials for patients who pass away, and memorial donations to the Bridge of Life, a nonprofit founded by DaVita, whose mission is to improve community health, wellness and vitality including chronic kidney disease (CKD) education, prevention and treatment. This organization strives to help keep families from losing loved ones to CKD.

DaVita’s culture is not normal, but it is exceptional. And I’m so grateful to be a part of it.

One for All.

Alissa Hooper

Alissa Hooper

Alissa is an internal communications coordinator for the Village. She enjoys being outside, spending time with her son, Michigan State football, playing guitar, traveling and all things food.