Keremeos resident Siobhan Wyman will be making her third blood donation on Jan. 17, with the goal of making five donations this year in honour of her father.
Her dad Steve Dahnert, a repeated blood donor, was struck and killed in a crash on Thanksgiving Day 2020. His daughter became a donor to honour his memory.
“It makes me feel close to my dad, it makes me think he’d be proud of me,” said Wyman. “He was so passionate about it, and it’s such a little thing that I can do to carry on his passion, and it’s so needed.”
Her father was a proud and avid donor, having made close to 30 blood donations in his life. Dahnert was a Penticton resident and electrical apprenticeship instructor at Okanagan College. He celebrated his 60th birthday with his family in May 2020.
“He would go on a regular basis, he was going as often as he could and he was so proud, he would text me to brag about it and he just felt really good about helping people,” said Wyman. “I wanted to do a donation in May, for his birthday, and a donation in October for when he passed away, but I calculated that if I went in January and then every clinic after I could make more donations.”
He was driving his motorcycle along Highway 33 east of Kelowna when he was struck by a vehicle that crossed the centre line into his path.
After the crash, Dahnert was rushed to the hospital and received blood equal to his body’s entire blood volume many times over in an effort to save his life. Unfortunately, he succumbed to his injuries later that day. Seeing her father on both sides of the donations, highlighted how much of an impact that donating blood can make.
“Thank goodness people donate, because one person in one accident, it takes a lot of blood,” said Wyman. “It would take about 20 donations for what they gave him, that’s more than I could give in five years and when you put it like that it puts it in perspective how important it is to give.”
In addition to her own donations, Wyman brought her family and friends to donate as well. Alongside her husband, she organized a group donation in October in her father’s memory. With COVID-19, the family was unable to hold a proper memorial service, and a number of his friends hadn’t known that he had died until well after.
“He was a great person and he loved life and loved people, nobody could celebrate his life, he deserved so much more,” said Wyman. “The blood donation was something I thought could be that moment.”
“I was amazed at how many people were terrified of donating blood, even my father-in-law was ready to back out. And after he did it he was like ‘Oh, that was easy.’”
Ahead of the blood donation service’s mobile donation clinic returning to Penticton in April and in the fall , she hopes to rally support and find even more volunteers to donate blood as a group.
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