That’s a video tribute produced by Northwest Kidney Centers in memory of Bill Peckham, a West Seattle resident known for his advocacy on behalf of dialysis patients – himself included. With his Celebration of Life planned one week from tomorrow, we received this remembrance to share with the community:
Bill passed away on January 18, 2019, at the far-too-young age of 55, surrounded by his friends. He died at Swedish Cherry Hill from complications relating to sepsis. Having survived a heart attack, several strokes, and staph infection in November, Bill was never able to fully fight off the blood infection.
Bill was born August 30, 1963, in Evanston, Illinois, to James and Susan Peckham. He joined his proud brothers Charlie and Jimmy and lived his pre-college years at the family home in Wilmette, Illinois.
Bill graduated from Central Washington University with a degree in accounting and marketing. After graduation, he was ready to take on the world – both in business and in travel. But a diagnosis of kidney failure in his early 20s radically changed the course of his life. Bill received a transplanted kidney from his brother, Jimmy. However, the transplanted kidney soon failed and Bill knew it was only a matter of time before he needed to start dialysis.
Before going on dialysis, however, Bill travelled for several months around the world, thinking that this would be his only opportunity to do so. That travel adventure was cut short when he contracted dysentery while trekking in Nepal.
For many years, Bill thought kidney disease was the end of his life as he knew it. But with the incredible support of the staff at Northwest Kidney Centers (NKC), Bill learned to take charge of his own life. He soon learned to dialyze at home, where he did so successfully for nearly 20 years. In total, Bill lived well on dialysis for 28 years – a remarkable achievement.
Even with his kidney disease, Bill lived an incredibly full life. He worked full time making signs for Triumph Expo and Events and continued to travel, visiting 34 countries and dialyzing in 23 of them. He considered dialysis a back-door look into other cultures.
Bill inherited his love of travel. John Ledyard, Bill’s ancestor and namesake (middle name Ledyard), sailed with Captain Cook and attempted to traverse the USSR, among other great travel adventures. His grandparents also were inveterate travelers, having sailed around the world twice for months at a time, leaving delightful diaries of their voyages. Bill also traveled often with his family growing up.
In addition to his love of travel, Bill had a passion for dogs. One of his college dogmates was Tyler, an Australian Shepherd. Smitten by the breed, all of Bill’s dogs were Aussies: Brainy, followed by Cairny, and finally Banjo.
Bill was also a fierce advocate for patient care. He was an active volunteer for NKC and served on their Board for many years, including a term as Board Chair. Many know Bill through his advocacy work at NKC, from his blog “Dialysis from the Sharp End of the Needle,” and from his lobbying efforts in Washington State and Washington, DC.
Bill was pre-deceased by his parents, Jim and Sue Peckham, and his brother, Jimmy Peckham. He is survived by his brother Charlie, his dog Banjo, and many friends.
A celebration of Bill’s life will be held Sunday, February 24, at 2:00 at Northwest Kidney Centers – Seattle Kidney Center – 548 15th Ave (corner of Cherry and 15th). All are welcome.
Remembrance donations can be made to Northwest Kidney Centers, PO Box 3035, Seattle WA 98114-9900 – or via www.nwkidney.org/give.
(WSB publishes West Seattle obituaries by request, free of charge. Please e-mail the text, and a photo if available, to firstname.lastname@example.org)