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Pre-diabetic for 20 years, Greg has regained his health through Y program

Posted on Nov. 21, 2018 ( comments)
Puyallup resident Greg, 57, was referred to the YMCA Diabetes Prevention Program at the Mel Korum Y after being pre-diabetic for 20 years.

Puyallup resident Greg, 57, gets a physical every year. And for the past 20 years, he’s been diagnosed as pre-diabetic.

This past year, his A1C was 6.1. When his primary care doctor referred him to the YMCA Diabetes Prevention Program at the Mel Korum Y, he decided to take a chance and make a change to regain his health.

“After my back-fusion surgery, I felt I needed to make a change,” Greg says. “I was gaining weight, not moving around much and limiting my physical activity. I spoke with my doctor at MultiCare. We discussed that I needed to make a lifestyle change.”

The program

The Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) is a year-long opportunity for adults who are pre-diabetic or at risk of type 2 diabetes. The program includes a total of 25 one-hour sessions, with 16 weekly sessions at the beginning, followed by monthly upkeep. It’s offered at YMCA facilities across Pierce and Kitsap counties, and at community sites such as MultiCare Good Samaritan Hospital.

Participants learn how to eat intentionally, participate in physical activity, overcome stress and stay motivated to live a healthy life. The goal of the program is to help participants reduce their body weight by 5-7 percent and increase their physical activity by 150 minutes a week.

Most insurance plans cover the Diabetes Prevention Program, as well as Medicare.

Greg’s experience

Greg says he’s been grateful for this experience this past year and has found the support of the other participants to be key in his success.

“I really enjoy the other members of the class, listening to their stories and struggles,” he says. “It benefits everyone by sharing each other’s knowledge and experiences each week with the changes and accomplishments that we all encounter. We learn from each other, and it makes the classroom experience that much more fun and valuable.”

Greg says the group shares recipes and advice about how they deal with barriers around health.

“The support we give each other really helps with making right choices and decisions with our health,” he says. “Our group wants to continue to have sessions once the program ends, to support one another for living healthier lifestyles.”

Greg also credits his class facilitator, Yvette Lyons.

“She’s always prepared, has valuable input and is a very supportive person,” he says. “She’s always positive and has a smile on her face, willing to help me with anything!”

Forever changed

Greg had his annual physical exam just last month, and his A1C count has dropped from a 6.1 to 5.4.  His doctor reported that his A1C is now in the normal range and was thrilled with Greg’s progress.

“Most importantly, I’m no longer diagnosed pre-diabetic,” says Greg. “I can get around easier now that I’ve lost 32 pounds. I feel better about myself, how I look when I go out and interact with others. My children mean a lot to me, and I want my children to have a father that will be around for a while, living a healthier life and being there for them. I feel the YMCA diabetes prevention program has given me a new extension with life.”

The future looks bright for Greg, as he plans to continue being active at the Y, getting stronger and even encouraging the next group of DPP participants by sharing his experience at their upcoming kickoff class.

MultiCare and the YMCA

Through MultiCare’s partnership with the YMCA, providers can refer patients to YMCA chronic disease prevention programs within our electronic health records. The referral is securely transmitted to the YMCA, and a Y team member follows-up with the patient.


Fill out an interest form to learn more about the program


MultiCare Center for Diabetes and Nutrition Services

If you are an adult who has been diagnosed with type 1, type 2 or pregnancy-related diabetes, MultiCare’s Center for Diabetes and Nutrition services is here to help. Our team of Certified Diabetes Educators can answer your questions and assist you with learning the self-care skills needed to better manage your diabetes and live a healthier life. Services include:

  • Advanced diabetes self-management (insulin pumps and continuous glucose monitoring system)
  • Comprehensive diabetes education class
  • Diabetes in pregnancy
  • Diabetes medication management
  • Individual medical nutrition therapy sessions

Learn more about MultiCare’s Center for Diabetes and Nutrition Services


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