This Saturday, Feb. 8, will be Aldergrove resident Raymond Van Bugnum’s 98th time giving blood.
Except this time, when around 450 millilitres blood is drawn from a vein in his arm, it will be in memory of his late wife, Chris – an avid donor and volunteer host of blood drives in the community.
“With today’s technology you can get a pacemaker and live without a heart,” Raymond elaborated. “You can live without a lot of things, but you can’t live without blood.”
Raymond said his wife felt very strongly about that.
Chris passed away at the age of 62 having donated more than 100 units of blood and platelets. She lost a valiant, three-year battle with cancer on Sept. 6.
Her husband, Raymond, co-owner of All Seasons Garden Centre in Aldergrove with his brother, Rick, said even on her deathbed “Chris was more concerned about her kids, me and others.”
It is that kindness Raymond wants to emulate this Saturday. And they’re asking others from the community to join and take part.
“If you ever donated blood in Aldergrove, you would have met her,” Raymond added.
“Chris used to always say that she donated blood so that if her family or friends were ever in need of blood, she had done her part to help them survive.”
For nearly a decade Chris helped organize blood clinics in Aldergrove – ones that Raymond can only assume went on to change lives of victims of car accidents, those fighting cancer, and others in serious need.
Now, the husband feels it is his turn to carry her compassionate torch. The married couple often ventured to clinics together, sit side-by-side (if they could) and donate together.
Two of Chris and Raymond’s three children will donate blood in honour of their mom this Saturday at Parkside Centennial Elementary, located at 3300 270 St. in Aldergrove.
From 9:15 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. Canadian Blood Service technicians will carry out, first appointments scheduled by those who call 1-888-2-Donate, and then drop-in visits.
Raymond explained that due to the nature of Chris’ cancer she was not able to donate her organs to the extent she would have liked after her passing.
Recently however, he found out that doctors were able to donate her corneas, left unmarked by cancer, to assist others in seeing.
Raymond cherishes the BC Transplant letter confirming Chris’ generosity.
To learn more about blood donation those interested can visit the Canadian Blood Services webpage at blood.ca/en.