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Yakima’s “Best Kept Secret” Helps Local Man Prevent Diabetes

Maury Riker and his wife were enjoying their retirement in the Yakima Valley when their doctor told them about the Diabetes Prevention Program offered by Yakima Valley Memorial. Dedicated to each other and improving their health, they attended an orientation and enrolled in the 16-week program. It’s designed to help people reduce their risk of developing Type-2 diabetes. As part of the program, Maury had his A1C levels checked and was shocked to discover that he was pre-diabetic.

"I had no idea that I had any issues with my blood sugar," Maury said. "It was a wake-up call for me."

Determined to address the issue, Maury began following the program's recommendations to refine his diet and implement an exercise plan. He started walking around the West Valley and got a membership to the YMCA, where he now walks laps every day. He also made changes to his diet, reducing the amount of fat and calories he consumed.

"The program has been life changing. It’s not difficult. There are no food restrictions, nothing is off limits," Maury said. "It’s been absolutely amazing.”

Thanks to his efforts, Maury was able to bring his A1C levels down from 8 to 5.4 in just three months. Though he was never officially diagnosed with diabetes, the program had a major impact on his health. Not only did he lose over 100 pounds, but he also reduced his risk for heart attack and stroke.

Maury was so inspired by his results that he decided to become a program instructor and facilitator to help others make the same positive changes in their lives. He continues to follow the lifestyle changes he learned in the program and remains committed to maintaining his health, but he’s equally dedicated to encouraging others to attend the Diabetes Prevention Program.

“It’s the best-kept secret in Yakima,” he said.

Classes are limited to 15 to 20 students and attendees work in small groups to share their stories, knowledge and challenges.

Maury’s seen first-hand the positive change this class makes in his life, but it’s this connection and sharing that resonates with him. He finds inspiration in the quotation, “You never know who you can touch.” And with his work and advocacy for this program he hopes to be an example to as many people as possible so they can take control of their health, improve their diet, get motivated and extend their lives.

To learn more about the Diabetes Prevention Program, please visit this page for more details or contact Maggie Castaneda at

This program is made possible by The Memorial Foundation and donors like you. Learn how you can help at