When Jasmine Beausoleil boarded a plane in Quebec and headed for Castlegar in the spring of 2022, she was a curious and travel-loving 19-year-old, ready to shake off the limitations of a pandemic and embrace a new adventure.
She had no way of knowing that her life would be tragically cut short during trip.
On June 20, 2022, a Purolator van struck a transit bus on the highway between Castlegar and Nelson. The bus was carrying 18 passengers including Beausoleil and 15 other English-immersion students attending a short-term program at Selkirk College.
Beausoleil was sitting next to the window where the van hit the bus. She was taken to Trail’s Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital, then to Kelowna General Hospital, but succumbed to her injuries.
Beausoleil’s mother Chantal Bédard says the young woman was always dreaming about her next trip.
“She wanted to see the world, she loved to travel,” Bédard told Castlegar News.
Beausoleil had been anticipating the Castlegar trip for two years after the pandemic delayed its original departure.
However, Bédard says she had concerns.
“I was very worried about letting her go on this trip. She was going away for several weeks and it was the first time she had been away for so long.
“She had decided to go and improve her English, even though she was perfectly bilingual. It was mainly because of the travel experience and to explore an English-immersion program.”
Beausoleil was Bédard’s only daughter and the two were very close.
“She was not only my daughter, she was my friend,” said Bédard. “We were always together — when she wasn’t with me we wrote several texts several times a day.”
Bédard says her daughter was smart and curious, and was studying at Collège d’enseignement général et professionnel in Quebec City, preparing for university.
“She had strong opinions on many subjects, she was very human and open to world,” adds Bédard. “She had a lot of character.”
She was also athletic, participating in competitive gymnastics for 11 years and provincial cheerleading for one year before the pandemic cancelled competitions.
In July, one year after the fatal collision, the man who was driving the Purolator van was charged with driving without due care and attention. Police have not released his name.
The charges brought the accident back into the spotlight and prompted Bédard to come forward with her daughter’s story. She wants to put a name and a face to the tragedy.
“The newspapers said she was a young student or a young woman from Quebec City — she was so much more than that,” says Bédard.
“She was our whole life, my beloved daughter. It is hard for me to imagine my life without her.”
Bédard is also hoping to connect with the people who received Beausoleil’s organs.
“Some time before she left, we had discussed organ donation,” said Bédard.
“She felt that organ donation should be mandatory for everyone and that we should have to sign a card if we don’t want to donate organs.
“She had mentioned to us that she would like to donate all her organs if she died.”
Beausoleil’s desires were granted and her lungs and eyes were given to new people on July 4, 2022.
Bédard says she does not want to interfere in the lives of the recipients, but would love to know “a little about their history, to know if they are a dad or a mom, student, grandparents even, how old they are.”
She thinks connecting with the recipients would help as she continues to grieve the tragic loss of her daughter.
“Just being able to know what they are going through, what the gift has changed in their lives, would help me to give meaning to this immense loss,” says Bédard.
If you think you may be the person who received Beausoleil’s organs, email Bédard at Jasminesorgansearch@gmail.com.
BC Transplant also provides a service to connect willing donors and recipients. More information can be found at transplant.bc.ca/donor-families.
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