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

83-year-old Aldergrove man gives blood for the 200th time, saving 600 lives

There was no cutting of cake but Harvey Rempel challenes youth to start donating blood as his gift

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 compley 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

Calum, Hunter, and Joel were all selected for scholarships with NCAA schools in the United States. (Special to THE NEWS)
Three Ridge Meadows Burrards earn U.S. lacrosse scholarships for 2021

Calum Munro, Hunter Meyer and Joel McCormick will take their talents down south

The Ridge Meadows Flames lost their season opener on Sunday night.
Flames open season with loss to Kodiaks

Maple Ridge Junior Bs name Garrett, Tyszka team captains

Maple Ridge Council turned down an application for a cannabis retail store on 225th Street. (Black Press files)
City turns down cannabis retail store on 225th

Maple Ridge councillors say applicant needs new location

.
ON COOKING: Chef offers a new take on pumpkin spice

Pumpkin puree can be used to make a salad dressing

Tristan Kennedy, and his mom Naya, proudly displaying their joke book - A Reason to Smile. (Special to THE NEWS)
Pitt Meadows boy turns funny quarantine pastime into joke book

Tristan Kennedy, 5, placed wisecrack signs at the end of his driveway for 155 straight days

FILE – Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry provides the latest update on the COVID-19 pandemic in the province during a press conference in the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Thursday, October 22, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. shatters COVID-19 records with 817 weekend cases; masks now expected indoors

Three people have died over the past three reporting periods

The RCMP photo shows cannabis that was seized as part of the E-Prominent investigation. (RCMP)
Four Langley and Surrey men charged in 2019 pot export case

Warrants were executed on properties in Surrey, Langley and Delta in June and August 2019

The ‘new normal’ for hockey parents in Chilliwack and elsewhere in B.C., watching their kids from outside of the arena due to COVID-19 protocols. (Submitted photo)
Chilliwack hockey parents petition to be let back in the arena

Refused access due to pandemic protocols, parents are now applying pressure to loosen the rules

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

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
Christian school in Chilliwack closes for COVID-19 isolation measures, moving to online learning

Mt. Cheam school principal confirms coronavirus exposure led to staffing reduction and need to close

Swoop Airlines. (Contributed)
Daily direct flights between Abbotsford and Toronto start Wednesday

Swoop announces new operations at Toronto Pearson Airport

Most Read