Seven-year-old inspiring others to give

Adam MacInnis
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Principal Mark Fortune sees a lot of students in the run of a day at Scotsburn Elementary, but Tyler MacLean is different. 

Tyler MacLean has personally collected thousands of tabs as part of a fundraising effort. He’s encouraged others to give to the same effort. ADAM MACINNIS – THE NEWS

While most boys and girls in elementary school are concerned about themselves, Tyler thinks almost entirely about others.

“It’s very odd, but nice,” Fortune said.

At just seven-years-old Tyler’s already shown he’s got a humanitarian heart and passion to make his goals reality – as the quote by him hung on a wall at the school office says, “Good goals make good lives.”

His current goal is to help collect enough tabs to purchase a wheelchair for a toddler battling a rare disease. He’s picked up thousands himself – even asked Santa to bring him some for Christmas and in general has begged and pleaded others to do the same. The result? 125,780 tabs that will go towards helping a young toddler named Isaac Fraser, a grandson to Jean MacDonald, the secretary at his school.

There are large tubs filled to the brim with them and more coming in all the time in large part thanks to Tyler. He’s quick to say he hasn’t done it alone. His church, schools in Pictou and the Pictou youth group have all been major contributors and as the word has spread around Pictou County, others have joined in.

Isaac is 18-months-old and has been diagnosed with congenital muscular dystrophy. While much is unknown about his condition, there is a possibility that he could need a wheelchair later in life. If he does, Tyler is hoping to be ready to provide it for him. If Isaac doesn’t need it, the tabs will go to someone else in need.

“We’ll be ready for whatever happens,” Tyler said.

MacDonald said she’s been touched by Tyler’s enthusiasm to help. In the midst of a tough situation for her family, he’s been a bright spot.

“It’s amazing,” she said. “It’s just overwhelming. He’s got a huge heart. Everybody’s kind of taking up the cause. Tabs are coming in far and wide. Someone called today and said they have 30 pounds to take in.”

As a way to thank the supporters, Tyler has come up with another idea. For those who donate tabs, he and other organizers will be writing the donor’s name on a flower and sticking it in the tubs of tabs to create a garden.

“He has great ideas,” MacDonald said.

Helping Isaac isn’t the only goal for Tyler. He has broader dreams of helping those who have to use wheelchairs.

“I want people in wheelchairs to stop getting laughed at,” he said. “I don’t see it that much but you hear it all the time about someone in a wheelchair has been laughed at. I don’t get why they do it. We eat the same kind of food. We drink the same kind of water. What’s the difference?”

Anyone who would like to contribute to the tab collection can drop them off at Scotsburn Elementary school.

Organizations: Scotsburn Elementary school

Geographic location: Pictou County

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