Red Deer’s James Oostenbrug, right, with Marta Boulton, Canadian Blood Services clinic supervisor in Red Deer. (Photo by SEAN MCINTOSH/Advocate staff)

Stabbing victim encourages Red Deer residents to donate blood

A central Alberta man who was stabbed during a vehicle theft credits blood donors with saving his life.

Jim Oostenbrug, 46, said he didn’t expect to spend weeks in hospital when someone rang the doorbell to his home just east of Red Deer at 5 a.m.

A stranger said his car broke down and Oostenbrug decided to help.

“I got dressed and went outside. I started my truck, and as soon as I did, he jumped in the passenger door and started stabbing me. He was screaming, ‘Give me them keys, give me them keys,’” he said.

Canadian Blood Services hopes Oostenbrug’s ordeal will encourage central Albertans to fill hundreds of donation appointments by Jan. 7.

Oostenbrug said he was trying to escape his attacker, but got trapped inside the vehicle in February 2016.

“I eventually grabbed a hold of the knife and booted my way out. Once I got free, he jumped in the truck and left,” he said. “He stabbed me eight times in the chest and face.

“My hand was obviously a mess, but I managed to get into the house, wrap myself up in towels and call 911. I don’t remember much after that.”

READ MORE: Blood donors honoured in Red Deer

Oostenbrug said he passed out after speaking with his son. The next thing he remembers is waking up in a Calgary hospital. A nurse told him he received at least six units of blood.

“Somebody gave that blood and I needed it. Without it, I wouldn’t be here. There’s no way I can’t give blood now, there’s no excuse.

“Whether it’s something as dramatic as what happened to me, or if someone’s going through an operation, someone will need blood,” he said.

Shaun Richer, Canadian Blood Services territory manager for Red Deer and central Alberta, said they are trying to fill hundreds of blood donation appointments by Jan. 7.

“It’s generally a challenging time. Everybody’s enjoying the holidays and taking vacations with family and friends.

“Hospital patients don’t take a day off. Even though people can enjoy holidays, hospital patients in Red Deer and central Alberta can’t afford the same option,” said Richer.

READ MORE: Urgent need for blood donors at Red Deer clinic

Richer said more people may be interested in donating blood if they hear Oostenbrug’s story.

A lot of people may think “it won’t happen to me, or it won’t happen to anybody I know,” he said. “With (Jim) … it was something that was completely out of his control.

“It was just a random act, and thankfully, we have the support of blood donors, because they were able to save his life.”

To book a blood donation appointment, locate a donor centre, check your eligibility to donate blood and more, visit

You can also call 1-888-2DONATE or download the GiveBlood app available for iOS on the App Store or for Android on Google Play.

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