Forty-one years after his life was saved with blood donations following a serious skydiving accident in the Fraser Valley, Kelowna’s Bob Greig—himself a blood donor—figures he’s finally even, at least in terms of donations.
On Thursday, Greig donated blood for the 31st time, the same number of donations that helped save his life in 1976.
But despite having now given back as much blood as he received, the 70-year-old retired marine engineer says he has no plans to stop donating.
“I encourage everyone to give (blood),” he said. “If people hadn’t given when I needed it, I would not be here today.”
Greig, who is now a part-time community policing volunteer in Kelowna, survived the fall after jumping out of a plane 2,000 metres above the ground. One of the four other skydivers he was parachuting with that day over Matsqui Flats in the Fraser Valley got tangled in his parachute. Greig hit the ground at estimated 112 kilometres per hour.
“They told me I created a rut nine-inches deep when I hit the ground,” said Greig. Witnesses reported seeing a cloud of dust when Greig hit the ground.
At the time of his accident, he was a veteran of 250 jumps. He said on the day of his accident, he was jumping with four others, three of whom he joined together with in the air during the skydive as planned. But the fourth jumper of the group was above him when Greig pulled his parachute chord.
The other skydiver got caught up in Greig’s ‘chute and when he pulled his emergency parachute, the other skydiver also got tangled in that.
Grieg miraculously lived but suffered a badly broken leg, a wound 30-centimetres long and several other serious injuries.
In addition to the 31 units of blood he required, he also received four units of plasma and two units of blood platelets.
On Thursday, as he gave blood in Kelowna for the 31st time, he implored others to do the same and to support the Canadian Blood Services Siren of Life campaign, which has just passed its midpoint.
Gayle Voyer, territory manager for Canadian Blood Services in Kelowna said while the need for blood here is always high, heading into a long-weekend that need is even more acute.
She said with Thanksgiving coming up, it was fitting Grieg was making his 31st donation and publicly thanking those who gave blood when he needed most.
To discover all the ways you can donate blood and to book an appointment, download the GiveBlood app, which is available at the App Store or, for Android, on Google Play. You can also visit blood.ca to book an appointment over the web.