“I never just sit,” says the energetic 94-year-old, who introduces herself to everyone as Granny Bea. “I’m always doing something.”
Granny Bea lives in a cozy retirement home in Coquitlam and is one of Canada’s oldest blood donors, travelling to a clinic every 56 days to give blood.
“I’m so grateful I can give,” she said. “My blood can save a baby’s life. Isn’t that wonderful?”
Over the years, she’s donated more than 20 gallons of blood in Bellingham, Wash., and at least that much in Canada.
David Patterson of Canadian Blood Services confirmed that Granny Bea is one of Canada’s oldest blood donors.
“We’re thrilled to know that she can still donate,” he said.
Between blood donation visits, Granny Bea spends some of her free time making dozens of rosaries a week for the Sisters of the Child Jesus.
“My pliers are in my hand, always. I have a nice callus there,” she said as she pulled out a string of bright blue beads.
She twists the wire into place and counts out 59 beads while watching television or praying for her “dear ones,” whose photos are all over her walls, counters, and refrigerator doors. It takes her 90 minutes to complete a rosary.
The Sisters of the Child Jesus, who supply the wire and beads, use the rosaries in missions all over the world.
Sister Denece said Granny Bea, who began making rosaries for the sisters at least 11 years ago, is currently their sole rosary maker. She estimates they have sent a few thousand of Granny Bea’s rosaries to their missions.
“She is doing a fantastic job. We’re so grateful that we can continue helping our sisters throughout the world.”
Granny Bea learned how to make rosaries in the 1950s, when she lived in Honeymoon Bay on Vancouver Island with her late husband, Bill, and their three sons.