Cheryl Hubbard has been working in animal advocacy and rescue for the last 26 years. (Twila Amato - Black Press Media)

Cheryl Hubbard has been working in animal advocacy and rescue for the last 26 years. (Twila Amato - Black Press Media)

Penticton charity volunteer in need of kidney transplant

Cheryl Hubbard has been helping the community for the last twenty years and now she’s asking for help

A Penticton resident who has spent years volunteering in her community is now the one that needs the help.

Cheryl Hubbard’s kidney is failing and she needs a new one as soon as possible. She suffers from IgA nephropathy, also known as Berger’s disease, where an antibody builds up in the kidneys, which hampers the organ’s ability to filter out waste from the blood. It eventually leads to kidney failure.

About 21 years ago, she received a kidney from her brother but that kidney is starting to fail.

“Twenty-one years, that kidney has lasted. Unfortunately, it’s getting tired. It’s very tired and I have had some side effects that have really taken hold the last few weeks,” Hubbard said.

“I’ve been doing well. We’ve seen a steady but slow decline in my kidney function in the last five years, but just the last couple of months, I’ve been losing about one to two per cent of my kidney function. So the bloodwork I’ve done last week showed that I only have eight per cent kidney function left.”

Hubbard has been heavily involved in the Penticton community over the last two decades, most prominently with the AlleyCats Alliance, which she helped start. The organization traps stray cats, to spay, neuter and vaccinate them. Wherever possible, the cats are also fostered or given up for adoption. Her organization has helped communities from Osoyoos to Winfield.

But with very little energy and having to go through dialysis, she’s had to step back from many of the things she used to do with AlleyCats. She used to help with trapping feral cats and getting them medical care but as of late can no longer volunteer in that position and is acting as the group’s treasurer instead.

Dr. Jag Gill, a transplant nephrologist and the medical director of kidney transplant at St. Paul’s Hospital said receiving a new kidney makes a world of difference to people like Hubbard.

“It will completely change their lives… it eliminates the need for them to require life-saving dialysis,” he said.

“While (dialysis) is a great therapy that allows people to stay alive, it can really wear on people’s quality of life and it can make people feel unwell. It’s also a lot to do.”

Gill said he understands many people hesitate to donate a kidney because they don’t know if they can live safely with just one of them, but people should know that outcome for donators is good, especially when they are medically suitable to live their lives with just one kidney.

It is a rigorous process to find out if someone is healthy enough to donate a kidney as well as live with just one. There are various resources available to help make the process possible and easier for an individual to donate.

“Besides making sure they’re medically fit, we also make sure they’re psychologically in the right frame of mind, that they’re doing it for the right reasons. There’s a lot of care taken to make sure no one is coerced and that people are doing this out of their own free will,” explained Dr. Gill.

“If there’s anybody out there that finds it in their heart that they want to explore this as a possibility, it would make a huge difference in our lives,” Hubbard said.

For more information on kidney transplants in B.C., visit this link. To contact Hubbard, email her.

READ: Letter to the editor: Save the Shatford Centre

READ: AlleyCats in desperate need of foster homes

Twila Amato
Video journalist, Black Press Okanagan
Email me at
Follow me on Twitter

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

Just Posted

Fruit farmers in the Okanagan and Creston valleys are in desperate need of cherry harvesters amid COVID-19 work shortages. (Photo: Unsplash/Abigail Miller)
‘Desperate’ need for workers at Okanagan cherry farms

Fruit farmers are worried they’ll have to abandon crops due to COVID-19 work shortages

Earls On Top at 211 Bernard Avenue in Kelowna. (Google Maps photo)
Downtown Kelowna’s Earls ordered closed after COVID-19 transmission

Earls on Top on Bernard Avenue will be closed from June 18 to June 27

Danny Fulton receives his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at the Coast Capri Hotel on April 27. The pop-up clinic was hosted by the First Nations Health Authority. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Drop-in COVID-19 vaccine clinic planned for Kelowna

Clinic at Kelowna Secondary School from June 22 to 24 from 1 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Dereck Donald Sears. (Contributed/Crimestoppers)
Murder charge laid in relation to suspicious Kelowna death

Dereck Donald Sears is charged with second-degree murder in the death of Darren Middleton

A motorycle crash has been reported on Westside Road. (Google Maps)
UPDATE: Westside Road reopened following motorcycle crash near Vernon

AIM Roads advises drivers to expect delays due to congestion

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

Jeanette Megens
KCR: Volunteering is sharing your story

Kelowna Community Resources shares stories of its volunteers in a weekly column

(File photo)
Penticton not holding Canada Day activities out of respect for Indigenous people

Cities across B.C. are cancelling the holiday after an increased spotlight on Canada’s dark history

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Police are asking for public assistance in locating Anthony Graham who has been charged with the murders of Kamloops brothers Carlo and Erick Fryer. (RCMP photo)
2 charged, suspect at large in killings of B.C. brothers linked to gang activity: RCMP

Kamloops brothers Erick and Carlo Fryer were found deceased in May on a remote Okanagan road

Albert Health Minister Tyler Shandro and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney unveil an opening sign after speaking about the Open for Summer Plan and next steps in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta 1st province in Canada to lift all COVID-19 public health restrictions

70.2% of eligible citizens 12 and older in the province have received a dose of the vaccine

Fraser Health registered nurse Ramn Manan draws a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine into a syringe at a walk-up vaccination clinic at Bear Creek Park, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, May 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Honour our fathers’ with COVID-19 vaccine protection, B.C. urges

109 new cases Friday, 75 per cent of 12 and up immunized

Most Read