In December, 14-year-old Alistair Hoy was skating across the ice with his hockey team, a happy and seemingly healthy kid.
By Jan. 6 the Don Mills student had died of leukemia.
Alistair’s parents thought their son had the flu when they took him to see a doctor on Dec. 20.
From that appointment, he was taken immediately to Sick Kids Hospital where he spent his final 17 days battling acute lymphomic leukemia.
During that time Alistair went through 162 units of blood.
In memory of their son and brother, the Hoy family organized two blood donor clinics held on April 29. The events were dubbed Project 162.
“We call it Project 162 because that’s what we want,” said Gary Hoy, Alistair’s father, weeks before the event. “That’s our ultimate goal, to collect 162 units of blood.”
The first blood donor clinic was held at Don Mills Collegiate Institute, the high school Alistair attended. Another clinic, along with a barbecue and car wash, was held at the nearby Jubilee United Church.
Alistair’s older brother Spencer also goes to the school and several of his friends came out to give blood.
“Thirty-three, that’s how many (units) were donated over at Don Mills,” Gary said over the phone from the church as donations got underway. “We’re expecting over a couple hundred.”
Gary said he felt moved by the response of family and friends. A larger than expected crowd turned out for the event at the church and volunteers were busily grilling hamburgers and hot dogs.
“It’s packed here,” Gary said. “There’s cars of people and lineups to get in.”
A silent auction and raffle were held later in the evening featuring prizes such as tickets to Blue Jays games and the Hockey Hall of Fame. Free admission to a weekend hockey camp and a one-year registration to Parkwoods Hockey, where Alistair played, were also available to be won.
Although members of Alistair’s hockey team were too young to give blood many showed to offer support by helping wash cars. Proceeds from the events went to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of Canada as well as Sick Kids Hospital and Canadian Blood Services.
“He would have been blown away with the support,” Gary said of his late son.
They received some very generous donations but that raising money wasn’t the main goal of the project, Gary said.
“The objective here is to get the number of blood units that we wanted and it looks like we’re going to far exceed that, which is great,” he said.
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