Katherine Sim started volunteering at the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows Christmas Hamper Society after moving from Calgary three years ago.
At the time, she didn’t want to work, preferring to be at home more often with her family, but wanted to give to her new community.
She has always volunteered, something she learned to appreciate working in the not-for-profit sector, doing communications and social media for food banks, mostly.
She saw a newspaper ad for help needed at the Christmas hamper.
“I met so many wonderful and amazing people.”
She made great friends.
One was Tom Cameron, co-chair of the organization along with his long-time friend Lorraine Bates.
In November and December, every morning after Sim dropped her son off at school, she would head to the hamper buildings on the Albion Fairgrounds. On her way to the barn, she would pass the hamper office, where Cameron was sitting on the porch. He would wave to her.
It saddens her now to think about it. She will miss him this coming fall.
Cameron passed away in December from aggressive myeloid leukemia. He was 74.
After being diagnosed, he underwent chemotherapy and blood transfusions. But at one point, he refused the transfusions, suggesting that others needed the blood more.
It was then that Bates promised to organize a blood drive and replace every bit Cameron received, if he just agreed to keep receiving transfusions.
Sim said they extended his life, and allowed those closest to him to enjoy his company a little longer.
“He was just such a nice human being. He was such a kind, kind man.”
Bates kept her promise, organizing a blood drive in his memory for the month of February.
Canadian Blood Services was at the Maple Ridge Alliance Church on Feb. 10.
Sim went to donate in Cameron’s memory, but half way through the application process was told she was not eligible to donate. She had fought several rounds with skin cancer 20 years ago. She hasn’t had any problems since, but it didn’t matter.
“That was really sad.”
She was excited to help in Cameron’s memory, and even wrote about doing so on her personal Facebook page. The next day she wrote another post, about her disappointment.
A couple people responded.
Then a week later she received a text from an old high school friend, Kelly Parker, in Toronto, where Sim grew up.
Parker was checking to see if Sim still had the same cell phone number.
A while later, she got another text from Parker. It was a picture of her, donating blood, for Sim, in Cameron’s memory.
The Canadian Blood Service is holding another donation clinic in Maple Ridge on Friday, Feb. 24, from 12:25 to 6:15 p.m. at the Maple Ridge Alliance Church, 20399 Dewdney Trunk Rd. Times must be booked one week ahead with Bates at 604-463-6922 or 504-841-8422 or email email@example.com.
Bates was still looking to fill 12 of 50 donation appointments “For Tom.”
Anyone can attend a Canadian Blood Services blood clinic and donate in Cameron’s honour. To make an appointment to donate blood, phone (1-888-236-6283) and mention that it’s “in memory of Tom Cameron.” Cite number INHO507290.