A young Langley boy was discharged from BC Children’s Hospital just in time to be at home on Christmas Day 2012 to open gifts with his family.
Instead, Keian Blundell adorned a Santa hat, loaded up all the gifts in a wagon, and returned to the hospital to share those gifts with 16 kids on the ward who wouldn’t make it home.
“It really showed how much older he was. He had an old soul,” Ryan Blundell, Keian’s father, told the Langley Advance Times.
And again, the very next year, Keian was able to return again with a wagon full of Christmas cheer.
“He understood what was important,” Ryan said. “He still was a child at heart, but he also knew that… he was lucky to still have some resemblance of a normal life.”
Keian was diagnosed with T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia in January 2012 and passed away in January 2014 at the age of six.
But his family keeps his tradition alive.
Now, his family runs an annual toy drive benefiting BC Children’s Hospital and Canuck Place, alongside a bottle drive to support families whose children are receiving treatment.
The family will be hosting the annual Team Keian bottle drive on Saturday, Nov. 16 at the Real Canadian Superstore parking lot at 19851 Willowbrook Dr. in Langley.
“We wanted to do it, because we had benefitted from somebody doing a bottle drive to help raise money for us… we wanted to make sure that the families had support… just to give that bit of relief, albeit temporary, so they can focus on the most important thing which is family,” said Ryan.
The family started the bottle drive in the fall of 2014. Ryan estimates the recycling campaign has raised about $10,000.
“We have an idea what families go through when it comes to this and this makes an impact on them so they don’t have to worry about where [their] food is going to come from next,” said Ryan.
In addition to collecting recyclable at the bottle drive this month, the family will also be accepting cash donations.
Those who are unable to make it to the grocery chain can take their recyclables to the Langley Bottle Depot at 20137 Industrial Ave. and apply the donations to the account Team Keian.
In addition to the bottle drive, Keian’s Holiday Wish Toy Drive is happening now until Dec. 13.
New and unwrapped toys can be dropped off at Kids in the Grove at West Langley Elementary (9403 212th St.), Garaventa Lift (18920 36th Ave. in Surrey), at any Surrey RCMP detachment, Burnaby RCMP (6355 Deer Lake Ave.), any Burnaby Community Police office, and Princess Auto (15 King Edward St. in Coquitlam).
Donated toys must be unwrapped so they can be sorted and gifted to children with their age in mind, according to Ryan. He also suggested the public donate gift cards.
“We want to help spread his love, share his story and inspire others,” said Ryan about carrying out Keian’s legacy.