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Family gives thanks for gift of time with dad

Albert Kardash’s family honours his memory with milkshake donation to Edmonton donor centre staff 

Inspiration
May 14, 2020

"We know how important it was for my dad to get the blood he needed”

Collections team

An Edmonton family is mourning the loss of a father but thanking Canada’s Lifeline for helping to extend his life by many months.

Albert Kardash was diagnosed with polycythemia vera (PCV) myelofibrosis in 2017. This form of blood cancer causes bone marrow to produce too many red blood cells. That thickens the blood and slows its flow, causing serious problems such as blood clots. As the disease progressed, he eventually required transfusions of red blood cells and platelets two to three times a week.

According to his daughter, Carol Bacon, Albert believed that everyday was a gift. He wanted to live life to its fullest for as long as he could. So, after his diagnosis, he travelled to B.C.to visit his children, went kayaking and made a final trip to Maui.

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Albert and his daughter Carol

Carol Bacon is grateful for the extra months spent with her dad, which were made possible by blood donations.

“Because of the blood and platelets my dad received, he was able to spend time with his first great-grandchild and spoil her a little longer,” said Carol. “We were also able to go to a couple more Oilers games together.”

Carol’s father’s condition deteriorated in April, requiring him to be hospitalized. Because of restrictions to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the family was not able to see him in person. Instead, they visited through a window.

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Albert's son John visiting him through a window during Covid-19

John Kardash visits his father Albert Kardash at Sturgeon Hospital in St. Albert, Alberta during the pandemic.

Sadly, Albert died in April.As they mourn, Carol and her family find comfort in the memories of their time together.

“Blood donors extended my dad’s life so much longer, letting him continue to enjoy his life and allowing us to spend precious time with him.”

The milkshake connection

Carol recently expressed her gratitude to the staff at the Edmonton donor center by donating milkshakes from her father’s favorite restaurant, YEG Burger. Albert was an especially big fan of the restaurant’s strawberry shake.

“My parents loved going to eat at YEG Burger,” Carol said.“They would go for milkshakes and burgers after he received his vital blood and platelet transfusions.”

Carol follows YEG Burger on Facebook, and after her father passed, she was quick to join a promotion to offer free milkshakes to workers on the front line of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We decided to help cover the cost of some milkshakes for Canadian Blood Services’ donor centre staff,” said Carol.”“My dad really loved the milkshakes, and your staff do such a wonderful job making sure people get the blood they need, when they need it.”

“We were moved by Carol’s story and humbled that our restaurant was so important to her father that there was a reference to our milkshakes in his eulogy,”said Emad Elshmoury, owner of YEG Burger.

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Emad Elshmoury, owner of YEG Burger and family with 45 milkshakes

Emad Elshmoury and his family deliver 45 milkshakes for Edmonton collections manager Kerry Parsons to share with staff

The legacy

Carol and her sister both became blood donors as young adults. Carol began donating when she went to college but is no longer eligible because of a medical condition.

When their father became ill, the importance of blood donation became personal. Carol’s sister tried to donate more often, and Carol began to use her Facebook page to actively encourage people to donate blood. Her son also took up the cause.

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Albert and his grandson Nathan donating blood

Nathan Kardash, left, was inspired to become a blood donor by his grandfather, Albert Kardash, seen here receiving one of his many transfusions.

“My son, Nathan, became a blood donor when my dad was going through treatment.He is now looking into being a platelet donor as well because he has seen how important platelets can be to patients in need, like his grandfather,”said Carol.

Carol described her dad as a kind and loving man who would be proud to have his story shared to benefit others. Milkshakes are just one small act of gratitude for a family that would like to do much more, she said.

Albert’s obituary asked people to donate blood in his memory and Carol said the family will continue to encourage blood donation in the future.

“We know how important it was for my dad to get the blood he needed, and we want to do what we can to make sure blood is always therefor those who need it.”

 

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