Retired Seattle police officer celebrates one-year anniversary of double-lung transplant

Tim and Sandy Hubbard at LCNW’s 2018 Donation Celebration in Bellevue, WA

Tim Hubbard was living an active life being outdoors, camping, and traveling after retiring from the Seattle Police Department where he had worked for 28 years. He and his wife, Sandy Hubbard, have traveled to Europe, the Caribbean, and extensively throughout the U.S. As he reflected on life after retirement, it was safe for him to say that this was the happiest he had ever been in his life.

Tim’s active life, unfortunately, came to a halt after he began experiencing dry coughs and shortness of breath. His health really took a downward turn in December 2016, which prompted him to see his doctor. A lung specialist diagnosed him with Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF), a type of lung disease characterized by lung scarring that progressively declines the organ’s function.* The ailment has no identified cause or cure. His once active lifestyle quickly became much more confined as he was tethered to his oxygen tank.

After the diagnosis, Tim couldn’t walk for more than a minute without a high level of oxygen. Two liters of oxygen in the tank turned into 10 liters after only seven months. It was incredibly hard for Tim to go outside and live life like before since he was limited in getting around. He was placed on the transplant waiting list for new lungs. His family was experiencing a multitude of feelings – they were shocked, upset, and scared, but were supportive at the same time.

Waiting for a double-lung transplant was a difficult process for the Hubbards, especially since they had to leave their family and head to San Francisco. Obtaining a spot on the transplant waiting list provided them with a sense of excitement and hope, but also some anxiety; not knowing how everything will turn out and having to keep faith during the waiting process was a huge test.

“Once I was on the transplant list, the wait was incredibly stressful,” said Tim. “Always wondering if I would get the call. [I] was going to exercise classes and trying to stay strong. The pulmonary rehab support team was wonderful. Without family and friends, I wouldn’t have made it.”

October 2017

October 18, 2017, was just another normal day of waiting until Tim received the call they have anticipated for a little more than two months – he was about to receive new lungs! After 65 days of waiting, the Hubbard’s had a mix of emotions and were ready to go. Their bags were packed and all they needed to do now was to inform their family members. From this point forward, the Hubbard’s held no doubt nor lacked any confidence during the “most intense moment” of their lives. Tim had his double-lung transplant on October 20, 2017, at the University of California, San Francisco Medical Center.

One-Year Anniversary Post-Transplant

The month of October marks one year since Tim received his life-saving double-lung transplant. The gift of life that Tim’s donor has provided him and his family has completely changed their lives for the better.

Tim is doing well today and has been able to enjoy many of the activities he did prior to his diagnosis. This past May, he was able to welcome his new grandson, Austin Timothy, to the world.

Tim welcomes his new grandson, Austin Timothy

Tim’s new grandson, Austin Timothy, at 5 months old

“Life now is good!” said Tim “…now, I can BREATHE. Communities need to know how important becoming a donor is because you just never know! I want to contact my donor family and tell them how blessed I am and how proud they should be of their gift.

On his one-year transplant anniversary day, Tim walked a 5k with his community to celebrate.

Tim will be visiting the Seattle Police Officer Guild in November to discuss transplantation and donation through his own experience. The Hubbard’s are also planning a family trip to Mexico this winter to celebrate Tim’s one-year transplant anniversary.

Tim gratefully reflects on the past year and how his life has been restored:

“I am so thankful after my double-lung transplant one year ago! I honestly don’t think I would be here if it wasn’t for the amazing team of doctors and nurses who cared for me, and of course, my loving wife and family! I feel great now and am living a very normal life, doing just about everything I did before I got sick! It is truly amazing. I really try to make the most of every day and I honor my donor by promoting organ, donation whenever possible.”

As we celebrate the season of giving and the generosity of our donor heroes, be sure to share your kindness as well. Register to be an organ, eye, and tissue donor today, and talk to your family about your wishes. You can register at your local DMV when renewing your license or online at www.lcnw.org.


*Information from The Lung Association