Fundraiser launched to help Bolton child who lost mother

April 25, 2019   ·   0 Comments

By Joshua Santos

A GoFundMe memorial fund has been set up to help bring a child to Canada from Sough Africa after he lost his mother.

Shelley Anderson was a 46-year-old single mother living on a farm in the Durban area of South Africa with her 12-year-old son, Christian. She lost her life from a ruptured bleeding ulcer on March 19. 

“Shelley was a therapist and drug addictions counsellor,” said Jennifer Gillespie, her mother and Christian’s grandmother. “She was a loving, caring person who offered many free consultations to those who could not afford to pay for them. Her greatest love was her son Christian, who people said they were more like buddies than mother and son. She was a single mother from when Christian was a year old. She has never received any support from his father, so life has been tough.” 

Ms. Gillespie said her daughter also loved animals, rescuing many dogs and horses over the years to re-home them. She received recognition for her work in South African press, where she was doing equine assisted psychotherapy at an animal farm. 

Ms. Anderson had two brothers, one of whom, Mark was attacked in a robbery at his company just one month ago and is in the hospital suffering brain damage from which he many never recover. Ms. Gillespie, in the fundraiser page, said Christian has been stunned and confounded by the loss of his mother and severe injury to his uncle.

“Christian has been so brave and wrote a touching piece for his mother’s funeral,” said Ms. Gillespie. “At first, he believed she would suddenly come back, and he had a hard time sleeping. He is more settled now as he is with friends.”

Ms. Gillespie has lived in Bolton for 22 years and worked at the Caledon Public Library as a reference librarian for 17 years. 

At press time, the campaign had already raised $5,940 from 34 people in 22 days, with a goal of $50,000. Ms. Gillespie started the fund to bring Christian to Canada and continue his education. 

“Shelley wanted Christian to go to university and pursue his dreams in helping animals around the world and we ask anyone who is able or willing to assist in making his dream a reality to do so,” she said. “Shelley wanted her son to grow up to be a strong person who helped others, just as she did over the many years of her short life.”

Christian is currently being cared for by the woman who runs the farm in South Africa, which is an animal rescue sanctuary where Ms. Anderson performed her equine therapy lessons.

Describing the caregiver as “a most amazing girl,” Ms. Gillespie added, “She has adopted one of Christian’s beloved dogs who he sleeps with every night and it has been a great comfort. Christian is sight-impaired, only 10% vision in one eye so he needs special care.”

The plan is to bring Christian to Canada in September. He is now without parents or anyone that can take care of him permanently in South Africa.

“Unfortunately, his only uncle there was attacked in his office building two months ago and has been left brain-damaged so we are dealing with that as well as Shelley’s sudden death,” said Ms. Gillespie. “Things have however been very difficult as the police regarded Shelley’s death as suspicious. She lived on an isolated farm, in the beginning. The house was cordoned off and no documents could be removed so her will and Christian’s passport have not been located.”

For more information, or to donate to the fund, visit


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