Keian Blundell’s holiday wish was that every sick child would receive a gift at Christmas.
Even through his own suffering, in 2012, the then five-year-old began a toy drive after being diagnosed with T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
That year, Keian was able to go home for the Christmas holidays and wanted the other kids who were still in hospital to feel the same joy.
With the help of a family friend, the Langley boy organized a toy drive. Even though he was sick himself, Keian delivered 16 toys to BC Children’s Hospital and Canuck Place Children’s Hospice.
The next year, Keian was introduced to Surrey RCMP Const. Mark Peterse who’d heard Keian had always wanted to be a police officer. On Oct. 31, 2013, Keian was made an honorary member the RCMP and was presented with a custom-made uniform in iconic red serge.
During Keian’s treatment his family used to drive by the RCMP headquarters, which always caught Keian’s attention. Keian told his parents, Chantal and Ryan, many times that he wanted to be a police officer.
“Thanks to the efforts of Const. Peterse and others, Keian’s wish came true. Keian’s Holiday Wish Toy Drive is now in its fourth year, and we are absolutely thrilled that the Surrey RCMP in our hometown has joined in to support this cause,” they said.
On Jan. 1, 2014, Keian died. By then, his kind and generous spirit had touched his entire community.
Peterse grew up working at the family business, Cedarbrook Bakery. He sold it to pursue his own dream of becoming a police officer and was a member of the Cops for Cancer tour, riding hundreds of kilometers to raise money for families affected by childhood cancers, just like the Blundells.
“I know Keian would’ve been proud to see his wish to bring joy to children at BC Children’s Hospital and Canuck Place Children’s Hospice continue to grow. Last year, with our overwhelming support, we were able to deliver 974 toys, bringing the overall total to nearly 3,700 since the toy drive began with Keian in 2012.
“We couldn’t have done this without our extended family at the RCMP,” the Blundells said.
Also to honour their son, the Blundells recently held a successful bottle drive at the Langley Superstore, where more than $1,200 was raised. The money will go towards helping families affected by childhood cancers.
“Keian was a bright light at Canuck Place Children’s Hospice. His generous and compassionate spirit touched everyone he met and we’re so happy that his legacy of giving continues, said Margaret McNeil, Canuck Place CEO.
“Keian’s gifts extend beyond the physical, they inspire us to live more generously and love more openly.
“The holidays can be a very difficult time for children living with life-threatening illnesses and the families who love them, so these acts of love and kindness really make a positive impact. Thank you to Keian’s family for continuing to support Canuck Place children and families.”
“Keian’s Holiday Wish Toy Drive is now an annual event,” says Peterse.
“This year we are carrying on the tradition of collecting toys and cash in Keian’s memory from Surrey RCMP’s officers, municipal employees, volunteers, citizens, and anyone else who would like to make a donation. It’s because of Keian’s generous spirit and the people making donations that many sick children will be just a little bit happier this Christmas season.”
Peterse and all members of the Surrey RCMP are inviting the public to come out and support Keian’s Holiday Wish Toy Drive. Between Dec. 1 and 15, the Surrey RCMP will be accepting toys and cash donations at its main detachment and five district offices.
Officers will also accept donations and try to fill police cars this Saturday, Dec. 2, from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m., at Wal-Mart, 12451 88 Ave. and Sunday Dec. 10, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m at Real Canadian Superstore, 2332 160 St.
Toys should be new, unwrapped, and appropriate for all ages up to and including 18 years old.
Kids in the Grove at West Langley Elementary (where Keian went to preschool) is also accepting donations until Dec. 15.
For more information on “Keian’s Holiday Wish Toy Drive” visit their Facebook page or find them on Twitter.