From a young age, Michael Thompson says his parents instilled in him faith and a spirit of service. He took their lessons to heart by enlisting in the United States Marine Corps.
“I was raised to love my country, give back wherever and whenever I can, and not let myself get down,” said Michael, who is now 51 years old. “There is no adversity too great in life and there is no excuse to not serve others.”
When Michael’s kidneys started failing seven years ago, he viewed his health challenges with a Marine mentality, remaining positive and working hard to improve his health despite high blood pressure and diabetes. Nearly two years ago, he began dialysis treatments at Fresenius Kidney Care Vista Del Sol in El Paso, Texas.
Originally stationed in San Diego, Michael’s six-year deployment as a Marine took him around the world, including Singapore, Australia, Thailand and Japan. After completing his service, Michael worked in public service for 18 years at the Texas Department of Criminal Justice and the Office of the Attorney General of Texas.
Michael now juggles his schedule to include dialysis, work and community service. After working in the morning for the Office of the Attorney General of Texas, Michael goes to dialysis three days a week for four hours in the evening. On the days he doesn’t dialyze, Michael officiates youth basketball programs. He uses his personal experiences to inspire those around him, from coworkers to young players.
“Despite his health challenges, Michael continues to lead a busy, fulfilling life,” said Lilia Vergara, Michael’s nurse at Fresenius Kidney Care Vista Del Sol. “He’s always positive and thinking of others. It’s inspiring to me and other patients at the clinic.”
With the support of his family, including his wife Veronica, Michael continues to enjoy his favorite activities, such as cheering for his favorite Texas football teams. His son, who is a chef in Austin, helps Michael find kidney-friendly recipes.
“My wife, my family and my faith inspire me to stay positive,” he said. “We are all going through this together.”
The spirit of service instilled in Michael from a young age has now come full circle — his brother and niece serve in the Marine Corps and his son is in the Navy.
On this Veterans Day, and every day, we thank and honor Michael for his service and for his continued inspiration to those around him.