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Blood donor clinic July 12 to honour wrong-way crash victim Gabe Choi

Friends, co-workers and teammates of late corrections officer can donate blood in his name
Gabriel Choi, on a mountain near Chilliwack. (Alyson Hayes photo)

Co-workers and friends of the late Gabriel Choi will be giving blood July 12 in Chilliwack at the first ever clinic in his honour.

The federal corrections officer who was killed in a crash near Chilliwack six months ago will be remembered for his giving ways.

“We chose a blood donor clinic because Gabriel was always the type to give back to the community,” said Choi’s sister, Stormie Choi, in an interview from her home in London, Ontario.

“He would be there for you.”

It would have been Gabriel’s 36th birthday on July 14, so they picked a clinic date as close to that as possible.

Choi had been on his way to work at Mountain Institution in Agassiz, heading east on Highway 1 near Chilliwack when his vehicle was struck head-on by a wrong-way driver.

He succumbed to his injuries later that day, after holding on initially.

The driver and passenger of the other vehicle, who were killed on impact, had been fleeing police after hitting the highway heading the wrong way. The provincial Independent Investigations Office (IIO) is still looking into the circumstances of the crash.

While the Choi family awaits an update, they are supporting the inaugural blood donor event in Gabriel’s honour, Stormie noted.

It’s been just six months since his untimely death, and the family has taken the loss of the first born son hard. Gabriel’s kind and charismatic ways will be greatly missed and fondly remembered, his sister said.

“We were very close.”

Having survived more than one near-death experience in his life where he benefited from blood donations, the clinic is an especially fitting way to honour Gabriel.

“We have been giving blood whenever we can,” Stormie said. “Not everyone has the financial means to donate but everyone has blood. We recognize that it is so needed and that it can have a huge impact sometimes the difference between life and death.”

His co-workers and teammates have already pledged to donate 36 units of blood.

Plus this year is year of the Ox in the Chinese zodiac, which Gabriel, who was half Chinese, and his father were born in. The colour red, like the colour of blood, is considered lucky, Stormie said.

RELATED: Outpouring of support after Choi killed

Gabriel was especially well-regarded in the world of Fraser Valley corrections among those who worked with him, and that he befriended. More than $55,000 was raised quickly with more than 300 donors to a GoFundMe for the Choi family last winter.

Also he was known as a solid team player, and this is also a way for teams to honour him, his sister added.

The Canadian Blood Services (CBS) blood donor clinic is July 12, 2 p.m. to 6:45 p.m. at Tzeachten Community Hall, 45855 Promontory Road. Sign up at CBS to donate and register for the clinic in Gabriel Choi’s name.

RELATED: 3 die in horrible wrong-way crash

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Jennifer Feinberg

About the Author: Jennifer Feinberg

I have been a Chilliwack Progress reporter for 20+ years, covering the arts, city hall, as well as Indigenous, and climate change stories.
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