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)

Just Posted

Navi Mann casts his vote at Mission Hill Elementary School’s mock election Thursday, Oct. 22, 2020. (Brendan Shykora - Morning Star)
PHOTOS: Vernon students cast mock election ballots

At Mission Hill Elementary, the election is a chance to learn about the democratic process

Construction will close 25th Street Oct. 28-Nov. 3 in the 4100-4200 block. (Google map)
Construction closes Vernon street

Work underway on 25th Street Oct. 28-Nov. 3

Andrew Allen performed for two intimate crowds of 50 at the Vernon and District Performing Arts Centre Oct. 17. (Camillia Courts Photography)
Live events continue on Vernon stage

First Andrew Allen plays two sold-out shows, next up have a laugh with comedian Mike Delamont

Caken Me Crazy and Saucies27 Pizza combine dinner and dessert under one roof on 27th Street. (Roger Knox - Morning Star)
Pizza and cake businesses combine forces in Vernon

Small businesses share space to offer sweet and savoury

Robert Smithson of Smithson Employment Law Corporation presents a $10,000 donation to the Habitat for Humanity Okanagan’s Kelowna ReStore. (Contributed)
Habitat for Humanity’s Lake Country build gets $10,000 boost

“I couldn’t be more pleased to offer my support,” says Kelowna employment lawyer Robert Smithson

B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry gives a daily briefing on COVID-19 cases at an almost empty B.C. Legislature press theatre in Victoria, B.C., on March 25, 2020. (Don Craig/B.C. government)
B.C. sees 223 new COVID-19 cases, now 2,009 active

Two new care home outbreaks in Surrey, Burnaby

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

BC Liberals Leader Andrew Wilkinson, BC Greens Sonia Furstenau, BC NDP John Horgan (The Canadian Press photos)
British Columbians vote in snap election called during COVID-19 pandemic

At dissolution, the NDP and Liberals were tied with 41 seats in the legislature, while the Greens held two seats

Thanks to efforts by a Kelowna shelter and Elections BC, anyone who wishes to can vote in the 2020 BC Provincial Election, even if they don’t have a fixed address. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)
Kelowna group ensures people experiencing homelessness can vote

Shelter supervisor says voting ‘a fundamental right’ even for those without a fixed address

(Big White Ski Resort photo)
Big White receives 21 cm of snow in 24 hours

Resort’s snow base 41 cm deep, one month until opening day

The deer were allegedly shot within Princeton town limits, late at night. Black Press File Photo.
Armed man, in full camouflage, allegedly shoots deer in downtown Princeton

‘The list of charges goes on and on,’ said RCMP Sgt. Rob Hughes

Copies of an unsolicited newspaper have been reported arriving in mailboxes in Lavington and Predator Ridge among other municipalities across British Columbia. (Caitlin Clow - Vernon Morning Star)
LETTER: Questionable newspaper appears in mailboxes

‘I would suggest people do their own research of this ‘newspaper’ before subscribing to it,’ Morning Star reader says

100 Mile Conservation officer Joel Kline gingerly holds an injured but very much alive bald eagle after extracting him from a motorist’s minivan. (Photo submitted)
B.C. driver thought he retrieved a dead bald eagle – until it came to life in his backseat

The driver believed the bird to be dead and not unconscious as it turned out to be

Most Read