Dr. Murakami first recipient of Chilliwack-Hope Citizenship Award

Dr. Murakami first recipient of Chilliwack-Hope Citizenship Award

Dr. Ernie Murakami was honoured as the first recipient of the Chilliwack-Hope Citizenship Award last week.

A man renowned for his medical insights, and loved for his community involvement, was honored with the first-ever Chilliwack-Hope Citizenship Award at a ceremony in Chilliwack on Thursday.

Dr. Ernie Murakami, a noted and sometimes controversial expert on lyme disease, practiced medicine in Hope for almost five decades. Now retired, he remains committed to the community of Hope, where his love of sports, music and political activism has earned him the region’s respect.

The award was presented by Chilliwack-Hope MLA Gwen O’Mahony as part of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee medal presentations. While the selection committee was honing its list of deserving nominees, said O’Mahony, it decided to create an award that could be presented annually.

“It just wasn’t enough to have a one-time event,” she said.

Murakami’s career in medicine was born out of a desire to help others after watching the death of a friend and the near-death of his sister. Emerging desperately poor from a Japanese internment camp following the end of the Second World War, he was aided in pursuing his dream to study medicine. He graduated from UBC medical school in 1958 and joined a medical practice in Hope, where he has lived ever since.

Murakami is well-known in the community, not just because of a medical practice that spanned nearly half a century, but also because of his involvement. Active in the local Lions Club, he’s also an avid hockey fan and referee. He helped build the Hope Arena, the Fraser Hope Lodge, and fought for the preservation of the Fraser Canyon Hospital.

During this time, Murakami’s fascination with lyme disease grew. The disease is spread through the bite of an infected tick. However, treatment is much more complex. Indeed, as Murakami discovered, there is no consensus within the medical community on diagnosis and treatment.

Murakami established the Dr. Ernie Murakami Centre for Lyme Research, Education and Assistance. He treated thousands of people for the disease and earned recognition from around the world.

But he also generated controversy, as the BC College of Physicians and Surgeons questioned his approach.

In 2008 he retired from practicing medicine, but says he remains committed to bridging the gap in the understanding of this complex disease.

In accepting his award Thursday, Murakami thanked the community for its continued support.

“When you get an award like this, you don’t get it for yourself,” he said.

“You get it for all the people that were behind you at all these functions.”

Just Posted

How much does your city spend per person on snow removal?

Black Press Media compares 2018 ice and snow removal budgets of various Lower Mainland communities

B.C. BUDGET: Surplus $374 million after bailouts of BC Hydro, ICBC

Growth projected stronger in 2020, Finance Minister Carole James says

Preliminary inquiry starts for Chilliwack woman charged in 2016 fatal hit-and-run

Linnea Labbee, 70, accused in Dec. 1, 2016 incident that killed 78-year-old Fourghozaman Firoozian

Short closures on Agassiz-Rosedale Bridge during pier upgrades

The project comes before the major retrofit of the bridge, which has been in the works since 2017

Snowfall warning: 5-10 cm expected in Lower Mainland

The snowfall will start Tuesday and carry on into the evening, before tapering off Wednesday

VIDEO: 8 things you need to know about the 2019 B.C. budget

Surplus of $247 million with spending on children, affordability and infrastructure

‘Bullet missed me by an inch’: Man recounts friend’s killing at Kamloops hotel

Penticton man witnessed Summerland resident Rex Gill’s murder in Kamloops

B.C. BUDGET: Income assistance raise still leaves many below poverty line

$50 per month increase included in funding for poverty and homelessness reduction

B.C. BUDGET: Indigenous communities promised billions from gambling

Extended family caregiver pay up 75 per cent to keep kids with relatives

B.C. BUDGET: New benefit increases family tax credits up to 96 per cent

BC Child Opportunity Benefit part of province’s efforts to reduce child poverty

B.C. BUDGET: Carbon tax boosts low-income credits, electric vehicle subsidies

Homeowners can get up to $14,000 for heating, insulation upgrades

B.C. man survives heart attack thanks to Facebook

A Princeton man suffered a heart attack while at an isolated property with no cell service

Abbotsford man sues Maxime Bernier’s People’s Party over trademark

Satinder Dhillon filed application for trademark same day Maxime Bernier announced the new party

New trial ordered over banning whales, dolphins at Vancouver aquarium

Park board’s appeal reverses previous decision that found it had no right to implement a ban

Most Read