After graduating from the University of Puget Sound, Rick went to work for a therapist in the Lacey area and then went on to manage Physical Therapy Specialties for the same therapist in the Seattle area. While working for Eastside Physical Therapy in Redmond, Rick decided it was time to branch out on his own. He split his time between his job in Redmond and his new clinic here in Duvall, in what was still a very small community back in 1986.
After establishing the Duvall practice, at the age of 38, Rick was diagnosed with scleroderma. Many of his patients may not have been aware of his condition or the daily struggles of his disease. Those of us who work with Rick are in awe of how he has handled himself with such dignity and grace through the hardship and the progression of the illness. More recently after some testing Rick was told that he is not a candidate for a lung transplant. The only thing the medical community can do for him at this point is manage the progression of his disease.
Anyone that knows Rick knows he is fun and loyal, very dependable, always there for you, and an incredibly hard worker, persevering until he could not work anymore. He worked through hardship and pain because he loved what he did. Leaving his practice was probably the most difficult thing he has ever had to do. Rick’s personality, warmth and caring approach to physical therapy kept people returning to him over the years, and in some cases he treated multiple generations of families.
Upon hearing that Rick was stepping down, a few current and former patients had this to say about Rick:
“Rick is one of those rocks in the Duvall community. I first went to him when body parts were not cooperating during my triathlon training, and he took care of me. I actually looked forward to seeing him (and the gang) when I had recurring issues in these past years. When I needed to talk to him about a torn meniscus, he welcomed me during his lunch hour when the clinic was closed. I can’t think of another PT I can entrust, so I am naturally bummed. But I am more devastated to know that he has been suffering and cannot continue the work he loves. There is a big hole now where that rock was.”
“It has been my pleasure to have known and been a client of this kind and caring man Rick Stewart. If we are to be measured by those who we attract then Rick surely stands out.”
–Client and friend Dennis
“From my broken arm in 2004, through MS relapses and pinched nerves, Rick was always there with kindness, humor and excellent treatment. If I had one thing to say about Rick’s practice, it would be family, because I always felt that whenever I walked in the door.”
A personal letter from Rick to his patients:
“Some of you are aware of my long battle with an auto-immune disease scleroderma, which has caused fibrosis (scarring) in my lungs, esophagus, stomach and hands. First and foremost I want to thank you all for entrusting your care to me. I take this as an honor and a privilege and have never taken this trust for granted.
The relationships and friendships that have been created during my 26 years practicing in Duvall have been priceless to me and have allowed me to continue working past the expectations of my physicians.
Over the past few months it has been increasingly difficult for me to work physically, but the emotional benefits of positive interaction with all of you has made it all possible and worthwhile.
The fibrosis has now reached the point where working is no longer possible and this has been a difficult thing to accept. I have however found a fantastic team of physical therapists that will resume treatment in the clinic on October 16th. I am confident that you will be pleased with their care. Check out their website at www.physiocarept.com.