Sandy Dunkley didn’t realize she’d made her tenth blood donation until she was presented with a pin after giving blood at the Langley City Fire Hall on Sunday along with a bright red sticker bandage that read “I gave life.”
“”I said, really? and she said, you’ve given 10 times,” Dunkley said.
It was the seventh annual Ron Dunkley Memorial Blood Drive in memory of her son, Ron Dunkley, a Langley City firefighter who died 60 days after he was hit by a train in Seattle in 2010.
Formerly phobic about giving blood, Sandy became a regular donor after seeing how much blood was used to treat her son.
“Every 56 days, when you’re allowed to go back (to donate), I would go back,” she said.
“A few times I wasn’t allowed to donate because my iron was down.”
She now loads up on iron-rich food like liver or grapes when she is preparing to attend a Canadian Blood Services clinic.
More than 100 people took part in this year’s clinic in Langley City.
“We had a lot of people,” she said.
“Every chair was filled.”
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Dunkley said Langley City firefighter Rob Rabby deserves credit for launching the blood donor clinic while Ron was still in hospital, as a way of paying back for all the people who donated blood.
“I had nothing to do with this,” Sandy said. “Rob started it. To me, this is the most important thing to come out of Ronnie’s passing away.”
She said people should understand that when they donate, their blood is divided into three parts, meaning one person could potentially help as many three.
“We’re saving thousands of lives,” she said. “This clinic will always be here as Ronnie’s legacy. It’s a legacy that will live on forever.”
VIDEO: Sandy Dunkley at 2016 blood donor clinic
The Ron Dunkley Memorial Society, a registered charitable foundation, was formed after his death to raise funds for a number of causes — the B.C. Professional Firefighters Burn Fund, Muscular Dystrophy Foundation, Canadian Blood Services and University of Washington Medicine among them.