Liz Harris on life since her 2018 Distinguished Alumni Award

As nominations open up for the 2021 UFV Alumni Association’s Distinguished and Young Distinguished Alumni awards, we caught up with Liz Harris (BA ’01), winner of the 2018 Distinguished Alumni Award to see what’s been happening since her win.

As Executive Director of the Fraser Valley Healthcare Foundation, it’s no surprise that COVID-19 came to dominate her professional landscape over the last year. Outside of the pandemic, Liz’s tireless fundraising work has led to a huge increase in support for numerous healthcare resources across the Fraser Valley, making a difference in countless lives.

Here’s what Liz has to say:

“Since 2018, I continue to work with Fraser Valley Healthcare Foundation and support the community. The foundation was able to purchase four stretcher beds for the Emergency Department at Fraser Canyon Hospital. We raised one million dollars to assist with expansion of the Primary Care Clinic that is a partnership between Division of Family Practice Chilliwack and Fraser Health. The clinic addressees the need of the community, which includes patients who do not have a family doctor.

The Mission Health Care Auxiliary Society celebrated 100 years of service to the community of Mission, BC in the spring of 2020. The goal of the auxiliary is to provide non-medical services and comforts to the patients at the hospital. Instead of celebrating, they decided to raise funds to replace $500,000 worth of much needed laboratory equipment at the Mission Memorial Hospital.

At the Abbotsford Regional Hospital, we continue to raise funds to purchase much needed equipment for the Emergency Department expansion. To date we have been able to purchase a LUCAS Chest Compression System that assists with CPR; this is currently in use. In addition, a Rapid Fluid Warmer was acquired. This technology is credited with saving lives by infusing warm blood and fluid into patients experiencing massive blood loss.

Liz Harris resized for webAlong with the entire world, as we entered the New Year the foundation experienced drastic changes due to COVID-19. The foundation hoped that things would not change here in the Fraser Valley, but inescapably they did. As the hospital became focused on preparing for the impact of COVID-19, the foundation directed its focus on how it was going to support the physicians, nurses, technicians, housekeeping, support staff and patients within each hospital. To help due to visitation restrictions, IPad’s were brought in to help facilitate communication between patients and their loved ones.

The community sent in words of positive messages and children shared artwork of thanks. The Abbotsford Police Department and Canada Post drove by at 7pm with sirens and horns making noise to give thanks to our frontline workers. It brought a flood of emotion and, at times, tears to the workers inside and outside the hospital.

When the call was put out that the hospital was in need of Personal Protective Equipment, it was amazing to see the community come together to supply these materials to the hospital and the COVID-19 testing sites.

Overall, it has been a time of growth, change and time to say thank you to those that supporting our healthcare system. It means a lot to have the work that I do within the Fraser Valley be celebrated as it impacts so many people everyday. I continue to love what I do, and hope to keep helping others for a long time to come.”


Nominate an outstanding alum today. Nominations close June 30, 2021.