Ruth and Jim Fraser try a little bit of dancing at the Robbie Burns Night celebrations held last month at the legion.

Ruth and Jim Fraser try a little bit of dancing at the Robbie Burns Night celebrations held last month at the legion.

Frasers accept challenges with determination

If not sidelined by a serious car accident three years ago Ruth and Jim Fraser would still be skiing.

If not sidelined by a serious car accident three years ago Ruth and Jim Fraser would still be skiing.

At 87 and 86 respectively the Frasers may not ski again, but they continue to work hard on their recovery and still enjoy periodic visits to Mt. Timothy Ski Area, which they love.

Right up until the accident, both Ruth and Jim were avid skiers, taught ski lessons and were actively involved in the resort’s redevelopment.

In fact the Frasers were on their way to ski at Mt. Timothy three years ago when the vehicle they were passengers in was involved in an accident on black ice.

They both spent about six weeks in hospital recovering from fractured bones and other injuries. After returning home from hospital Jim also hit his head in a fall and suffered a stroke which has prolonged his recovery.

“We had wonderful care in hospital and have had lots of help since then,” Ruth says. “We are not 100 per cent yet but we are doing well.”

They work on rebuilding their health with a determination one might see in people half their age.

In addition to other therapies they may receive, the couple has taken up yoga.

“The instructor we have is really knowledgeable and attentive,” Jim says.

“Physically I feel great, I even got my driver’s license back.”

Ruth also leads fitness classes for residents at Glen Arbor. She says she focuses on stretching, weight training and other mobility exercises which have helped in her own recovery.

Any work with the legs, such as squats is really good for skiing, she adds.

“We try to keep mobile. At our age you tighten up pretty fast.”

Ruth says they also try to eat a healthy diet with lots of veggies, fruit and whole grains, and especially homemade bread.

In December Ruth was honoured with a luncheon and plaque marking her 50th year of service with the Cariboo Memorial Hospital Auxiliary and is now looking forward to getting back into some active volunteering at the hospital.

Over the years she served as vice-president, treasurer, and corresponding secretary, but says for the most part she just enjoyed taking the service cart around to patients and working in the gift shop.

“It’s a fun job and you meet lots of people,” Ruth says in encouraging others to join the hospital auxiliary.

Jim, is also continuing his volunteer work with the Hough Memorial Foundation, which raises funds for cancer detection equipment at CMH.

Ruth says she has had two bouts with cancer, and supports the Hough Memorial Foundation and local Cancer Society in their fundraising efforts.

While they aren’t skiing these days, the Frasers do enjoy staying connected to the community by attending events such as the recent Robbie Burns Night celebration at the legion, dinners at the Seniors’ Activity Centre and other events. The Frasers are currently working to set up an outing for seniors at Mt. Timothy Ski Area.

“It’s beautiful up there,” Ruth says. They need 25 to 29 seniors signed up at the Seniors’ Activity Centre in order to make the bus trip a go.

Jim retired about 10 years ago in his mid-70s. His career has been varied, including starting and running a service station and rental business for which Ruth kept the books, then becoming a real estate agent.

Through the years he also had a storied political and volunteer career starting with  the community recreation commission, six years as a Williams Lake city councillor, six years as mayor, the CMH hospital board, the North Central Municipal Association (rising to president), and six years with the Union of B.C. Municipalities (also rising to president).

Over the years his volunteer efforts included work with the Kiwanis Club, Boy Scouts, Mount Timothy Ski Hill (five years as president), and Winter Games vice-president in 2002. He has volunteered with the Hough Memorial Cancer Society for 40 years since its inception in 1972 and currently serves as vice-president.

For his efforts he has been awarded Rotary Paul Harris Fellowship and Citizen of the Year award in 2004, a B.C. Achievement Award and the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal.

The Frasers raised their children, Colleen and Scott, in Williams Lake and now enjoy six grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. While their recovery from the accident has been difficult the Frasers say they have had lots of help along the way.

“We’ve had wonderful support and sure appreciate all the help we have received,” Ruth says.