VANCOUVER -- The longtime president of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs admits asking for help is difficult, and puts him in an awkward position.

“I’m known for helping individuals and families in regard to social justice causes and environmental issues,” said Grand Chief Stewart Phillip.

“But at the same time, I am in dire need."

In an open letter, the 70-year-old said he has developed a chronic kidney disease that is progressively getting worse.

“A normal person’s kidney function number is 95, and I am at 6 at the moment,” said Phillip, while explaining that results come back worse with each hospital visit and blood test.

Phillip is a member of the Syilx Nation, where he’s chaired the Okanagan Nation Alliance for 15 years. He's also a member of the Penticton Indian Band, serving on Chief and Council for 24 years, including 14 as Band Chief.

Currently, he is serving an eight consecutive three-year term leading the UBCIC.

He explained his condition does not allow him to fulfill his many roles, and also limits his time spent with his wife, Joan, his five children and 15 his grandchildren.

Phillip said the effects of his kidney disease include intense fatigue and a general feeling of weakness.

“If I sit in a chair for any length of time I automatically fall asleep,” he said.

While fearing he does not have enough time to wait for a deceased donor, Phillip is making a public plea for British Columbians to consider donating a kidney.

Those who are interested in learning how they can help are asked to Visit the BC Transplant website for more information on becoming a living kidney donor