Sixteen-year-old Taylor Leverick died after a two-vehicle collision near Ponoka in March 2015.
But before the Ponoka County resident died at the Stollery Children’s Hospital in Edmonton, he was able to say goodbye to his friends and family.
The goodbyes were possible because he received 50 to 70 units of blood, which kept him alive for a few more precious hours.
Now his aunt, Shelley McFadden, a Bluffton resident, is encouraging Central Albertans to donate blood because she knows first hand the importance of giving blood.
Out of the 35,000 blood donors needed in Canada, more than 600 are needed in Red Deer.
The Canadian Blood Donor clinic in Red Deer needs to fill its 622 appointments by March 10.
McFadden said Leverick was on his way from work to see his girlfriend on the night of the collision. He had many internal injuries or “war wounds,” as the doctors informed the family.
“They said a shrapnel had exploded inside his body,” said McFadden.
Out of the many painful memories that night, McFadden is grateful for the final goodbye.
“I can’t imagine us not being able to say that goodbye,” she said.
McFadden said she wishes she knew each and every one of those people who had donated those pints of blood.
“Just so they know we’re forever grateful,” she said.
Since his death, the family hosts annual clinics with Canadian Blood Services in Ponoka and Rimbey. Although, in recent years, donations have been lower at Rimbey clinics.
McFadden was once a sporadic blood donor, but that changed since her nephew’s death.
“You never think it’s going to happen to you, but it happens, and it happens to people you know,” she said.
Shaun Richer, Canadian Blood Services territory manager for Red Deer and Central Alberta, said getting blood donations during winter months is always tough.
The organization is hoping to change that with spring right around the corner.
A mobile clinic will be at the Lacombe Memorial Centre on Feb. 26 from 3:30 to 7:30 p.m.
Another clinic in Stettler is on March 5 at the Stettler Community Centre from 3:30 to 7:30 p.m.