A long standing friend of the Lloydminster Native Friendship Centre is walking across the country in support of mental health.
Stan Fraser, who was a board member when consideration was being given to move the centre to its present location, is walking from B.C. to Winnipeg to raise $50,000 for mental health programs.
Fraser now lives in Chetwynd. He started his walk on May 30th from Bella Coola and aims to reach Winnipeg by mid-August, notwithstanding the pain in his hip.
Fraser says he was bullied at school and faced abuse and ridicule from his teacher because
of his race. He battled with alcohol abuse and is now 42-years sober. He says while walking he tries to think about the positive even as he faces his own struggles and challenges.
“How can I go about trying to change? What can I do about the next town? What can I do about the next step? How can I get over this pain in my hip?”
He thinks about world politics and the war in Ukraine. He reflects on the peace and beauty of Canada despite its many challenges.
He thinks about the pope being in Canada and the apology for the church’s involvement in Residential Schools.
“I believe his apology is going to help a lot of people to move forward in their lives. I think there could be more done. What is going to be the outcome if other members of the catholic church are abusive? What are they going to do about it?”
He adds his concern is that across the world, “no child, no parent should ever have to endure” what happened at Canada’s Residential Schools as people try to to heal from what he termed the “horrific process” of assimilation.
Among people he finds inspirational are boxer Muhammed Ali who refused to fight for the U.S. Army in Vietnam and was stripped of his world title, and Nelson Mandela who was imprisoned for 27-years and then wrote about his long walk to freedom and being able to forgive and move forward.
“That’s why I’m trying to help out people today. To let go of my past and the people that have tortured me. I’ve forgiven doesn’t mean that the scars are not still there, but it’s ok. I am where I am today. I am somebody, even though people told me I was nobody. I am somebody.”
As Fraser continues his walk to Winnipeg, supporters can view his website and follow on social media.