Aldergrove senior Harvey Rempel, as a blood donation tradition, collects a Canadian Blood Services pin for each of his clinic visits. (Sarah Grochowski photo)

Aldergrove senior Harvey Rempel, as a blood donation tradition, collects a Canadian Blood Services pin for each of his clinic visits. (Sarah Grochowski photo)

B.C. senior gives blood for 200th time, has ‘saved’ 600 lives

There was no cutting of cake for Harvey Rempel but he’s challenging youth to start donating blood

The first time Aldergrove senior Harvey Rempel gave blood, he was just a young face in his teens.

Both him and his brother, who grew up in Langley, “thought it would be a good idea,” Rempel retold.

On Tuesday, that brotherly tradition extended into Rempel’s 200th time giving blood.

The 83 year old walked into a donation clinic at Church in the Valley amid the COVID-19 pandemic, a time when many his age – being most at risk for complications if diagnosed – are being encouraged to stay home.

“After I donated, a person from Canadian Blood Services (CBS) told me I have saved 600 lives,” from his donations, said Rempel.

“I’m just happy that I can help somebody out – that I am healthy enough to.”

READ MORE: Aldergrove husband hosts day of giving blood for late wife Chris

Tuesday afternoon he got a call from his son and daughter-in-law in Kamloops who toasted him over the phone for his special milestone.

Before the global pandemic, Rempel enjoyed reminiscing about the era he grew up in over coffee with others his age.

“In our era, you ate what was on the table and you were happy,” he said, unfazed by the current public health crisis that has kept him largely confined to his Lions Grove apartment.

Rempel’s dad originally immigrated to Langley, from Russia, and his mother migrated in from Washington State.

She was one of the first people ever to settle in Yarrow, a small community in Chilliwack.

“You learned to struggle through in my days,” said Rempel, now a widow.

His wife passed away five years ago, three years after relocating to a seniors living complex in Aldergrove.

For as long as the COVID-19 crisis continues and he is allowed – Rempel will continue to donate blood, he said.

READ MORE: Aldergrove donors worry about blood donations decline due to COVID-19

“When the dust settles I’m still going to get a cake to celebrate,” Rempel chuckled.

It was something blood clinic volunteers couldn’t offer him to comply with provincial health mandates to disband group gatherings to reduce the virus’ spread.

Blood clinics are now operating by appointment only, to ensure safety from COVID-19 at donor centres.

After his 100th donation, Rempel was given a special plaque.

And as a tradition when he donates every 56 days, Rempel collects an updated CBS pin for each of his visits.

Now, the senior is challenging younger generations to step and and give.

“They have to replace us old folk who might soon not be able to,” urged Rempel. “Because there’s always going to be a need for blood.”

Canadian Blood Services says it needs the help of Canadians to maintain a healthy supply during the pandemic.

To learn more about blood donation those interested can visit the Canadian Blood Services webpage at blood.ca/en.

Those who would like to donate can call 1-888-2-Donate and make an appointment.

blood donorCoronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Harvey Rempel (left), now 83, first donated blood alongside his brother (right) when they were teenagers. (Sarah Grochowski photo)

Harvey Rempel (left), now 83, first donated blood alongside his brother (right) when they were teenagers. (Sarah Grochowski photo)

Just Posted

Maria Lewis president of the Prince Rupert Royal Canadian Legion accepts a $5,000 donation gifted via an artillery shell from Shawn MacDonald governor of the Prince Rupert Loyal Order of the Moose 1051 on Nov. 13.
Major donation overwhelms Prince Rupert Legion

Prince Rupert Moose Lodge 1051 donates $5,000 to local veterans organization

Air Canada /Jazz flight AC8280 on Nov. 16 from Vancouver to Prince Rupert had a confirmed case of COVID-19, said Air Canada on Nov. 20. (File photo)
Flight into city had confirmed case of COVID-19

Nov. 16 flight from Vancouver to Prince Rupert affected by coronavirus

Prince Rupert carving artist Henry Kelly is having his work installed on Nov. 20, as a permanent art exhibit at the Prince Rupert Regional Airport. The traditional cedar canoe is a welcome symbol to those arriving at YPR. (Photo: supplied)
Art unveiling ceremonies at YPR cancelled due to new pandemic restrictions

Coast Tsimshian Cultural Exhibit at Prince Rupert Regional Airport features local carvers

Cases have gone up in Northern Health in the past week, as they have all over B.C. (K-J Millar/Black Press Media)
Northern Health reports new highest number of COVID-19 cases in one day

Nineteen cases were reported to Public Health last Tuesday (Nov. 17)

FILE – British Columbia provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry wears a face mask as she views the Murals of Gratitude exhibition in Vancouver, on Friday, July 3, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Masks now mandatory in all public indoor and retail spaces in B.C.

Many retailers and businesses had voiced their frustration with a lack of mask mandate before

Kyle Charles poses for a photo in Edmonton on Friday, Nov. 20, 2020. Marvel Entertainment, the biggest comic book publisher in the world, hired the 34-year-old First Nations illustrator as one of the artists involved in Marvel Voice: Indigenous Voices #1 in August. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
VIDEO: Indigenous illustrator of new Marvel comic hopes Aboriginal women feel inspired

Kyle Charles says Indigenous women around the world have reached out

B.C. Liberal MLA Shirley Bond questions NDP government ministers in the B.C. legislature, Feb. 19, 2020. (Hansard TV)
Cabinet veteran Shirley Bond chosen interim leader of B.C. Liberals

28-member opposition prepares for December legislature session

Motorists wait to enter a Fraser Health COVID-19 testing facility, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, November 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
COVID-19: What do rising positivity rates mean for B.C.? It’s not entirely clear

Coronavirus cases are on the rise but the province has not unveiled clear thresholds for further measures

A rider carves a path on Yanks Peak Saturday, Nov. 21. Two men from Prince George went missing on the mountain the next day. One of them, Colin Jalbert, made it back after digging out his sled from four feet under the snow. The other, Mike Harbak, is still missing. Local search and rescue teams went out looking Monday, Nov. 23. (Sam Fait Photo)
‘I could still be the one out there’: Snowmobiler rescued, 1 missing on northern B.C. mountain

As Quesnel search and rescue teams search for the remaining rider, Colin Jalbert is resting at home

More than 70 anglers participated in the bar-fishing demonstration fishery on Sept. 9, 2020 on the Fraser River near Chilliwack. DFO officers ticketed six people and seized four rods. A court date is set for Dec. 1, 2020. (Jennifer Feinberg/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Anglers ticketed in Fraser River demonstration fishery heading to court

Sportfishing groups started a GoFundMe with almost $20K so far for legal defence of six anglers

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Care home staff are diligent about wearing personal protective equipment when they are in contact with residents, but less so when they interact with other staff members, B.C. Seniors Advocate says. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
More COVID-19 testing needed for senior home staff, B.C.’s advocate says

Employees mingling spotted as virus conductor in many workplaces

This 2019 photo provided by The ALS Association shows Pat Quinn. Quinn, a co-founder of the viral ice bucket challenge, died Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020, at the age of 37. (Scott Kauffman/The ALS Association via AP)
Co-founder of viral ALS Ice Bucket Challenge dies at 37

Pat Quinn was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease, also known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, in 2013

Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada David Lametti speaks with the media following party caucus in Ottawa, Tuesday, January 28, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Exclusion of mental health as grounds for assisted death is likely temporary: Lametti

Senators also suggested the exclusion renders the bill unconstitutional

Most Read