St. Cloud Santa, Father of St. Michael Cop, Fighting Cancer

If you've had your photo taken with Santa at the Crossroads Mall in St. Cloud, chances are it was with Richard Scott, father of St. Michael's Lisa Fox, a Wright County Sheriff's Office Deputy. Now, Scott is fighting to beat brain cancer.

There are hundreds upon thousands of photos floating around of Richard Scott in his trademark "Christmas" shirt, white full beard hiding his young face and eyes twinkling from behind plastic glasses. 

So many include crying babies, curious toddlers grabbing at his facial hair (always real) and, sometimes, moms. 

Scott, you see, was the Crossroads Mall Santa. And he was so good, hundreds of families made it their holiday tradition to get their Christmas photos taken with only him. 

During his 17 years, his daughter Lisa Fox, a St. Michael resident, said, Scott gave so many people the shot of Christmas spirit they needed to get through the holidays. 

"Chances are they didn't know him at all. But they knew Santa. They knew that he was the one they wanted to see," she wrote in an email to Patch.

Now, Fox is hoping, the region needs to give back to Richard. Or Santa. 

After several episodes over the summer of seizures, phantom smells and emergency room visits, Scott was diagnosed Stage IV Gioblastoma, an aggressive form of brain cancer. Had surgery to remove a tumor in late summer of 2013 at a special hospital in Portland, Maine. 

Meanwhile, his "Mrs. Claus," Mary Scott, was fighting her own battle with dementia and Alzheimer's. She passed away at the end of October.

Lisa, who works nights as a Wright County Sheriff's Department deputy (and is St. Michael's biggest Halloween fanatic), and her sisters are organizing a fundraiser, set for Feb. 22 in Sauk Rapids. A spaghetti feed will be held from 4 to 9 p.m. at the VFW, Post 6992. 

However, prior to that, donations can be made right here in St. Michael. An account is set up at Highland Bank, 701 Central Ave. E., St. Michael. Or, check out either the "Give Back to Santa" Give Forward or Facebook sites, which Lisa manages.

The Facebook site is chock full of those aforementioned photos of kids with Richard, posted by proud parents who remember Mr. and Mrs. Claus from the mall. 

"For 15 years you have brought joy to our lives and instilled the true meaning of Christmas. You have given us something to believe in - a spirit of generosity and love," said one mother, who said her son visited Santa for 15 years. "Our lives haven't always been easy, but you have been a constant source of love and a reminder of all the good in the world. You truly are Santa, and you are, and always will be, a part of our lives. Thank you, Santa! Praying for your recovery! Sending love, hugs, prayers and strength to you!"



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