Edmonton-area man defies doctors to take school supplies to children in Mexico
Published Wednesday, December 12, 2012 6:29PM MST
Last Updated Wednesday, December 12, 2012 7:26PM MST
“They call me the Canadian Santa Claus.”
For the past three decades, Glen Fraser has extended a helping hand to children thousands of kilometres away – by personally transporting school supplies every year.
The tradition started after Fraser took a vacation to Mexico became an eye-opening experience.
“I didn’t believe there are people as poor as they are,” Fraser said.
Each year for the last 30 years, he’s packed his truck full of shoe boxes filled with school supplies – and taken the 2200 kilometre drive to Santa Clara, Mexico on the Baja Peninsula.
Now, the 86-year-old’s health is working against him – he has cancer, and heart problems.
“When this first started they told me I had 6 months to live,” Fraser said. “That’s what they told the family, but I beat it.”
His doctors have warned against taking his traditional trip south – but his daughter said her dad is steadfast in his commitment to help the children of Mexico.
“The doctors don’t want him to go,” Gail Fraser said. “He said ‘It’s not up to you to tell me I can’t go’.”
Gail has accompanied her father on the drive for the last 7 years – for her, it’s a unique opportunity to get to know her dad better.
“This way it’s a bonding experience, and I get to know about him as a person, and not just a dad.”
Back in Devon, where Fraser lives, the project depends on help from students at Riverview School.
Those students admire the tireless work this “Canadian Santa” has put into his mission.
“We have a lot more than any of those kids back there,” Aliyah Mackenzie said. “I think they should at least have a step to what we have here.”
“I think it’s important to spread the love.”
For Fraser, he said he doesn’t know how many more trips he has ahead of him – but he’s thankful for the experience he’s had.
“It’s been an enjoyable experience, and something that I will never forget,” Fraser said.
“I hope that when I’m gone, that my family will carry it on.”
With files from Ashley Molnar