- Burnaby Beacon
- Burnaby medical student receives BC Medal of Good Citizenship
Burnaby medical student receives BC Medal of Good Citizenship
Burnaby resident Navjit Moore told the Beacon she was “speechless” when she received the news
On Wednesday, Jan. 3, the BC Government announced that Burnaby resident Navjit Moore was awarded the BC Medal of Good Citizenship. Moore, a third-year medical student at UBC’s Vancouver campus, was awarded for her volunteer work with Crohn’s and Colitis Canada and Burnaby Hospital. The Beacon spoke with Moore briefly during her rounds at Burnaby Hospital on Thursday, Jan. 4.
Burnaby medical student Navjit Moore. Photo: Navjit Moore
Moore’s volunteer work did not come about in a vacuum. “I have a general passion for volunteering; every role I’ve taken on has been for personal reasons. For instance, I’m a long-standing volunteer at Burnaby Hospital. I myself spent some time here. I have inflammatory bowel disease, so I was hospitalized here for two weeks back in 2014,” she told the Beacon.
Moore started volunteering at Crohn’s and Colitis Canada after joining Gutsy Walk, an annual fundraising event every June to raise funds for inflammatory bowel disease research. After the event, she applied to volunteer with the organization’s Burnaby chapter. The nonprofit soon contacted her and told her that the Burnaby and Vancouver areas have plenty of volunteers. At the same time, Abbotsford lacked volunteers and support, asking her to reconsider and volunteer there instead. After thinking about it for a few days, Moore agreed to volunteer in Abbotsford.
After joining, Teri McGeachie, BC and Yukon volunteer coordinator for Crohn’s and Colitis Canada told Moore she planned to start support groups in other underserved communities but needed someone to lead the new groups. Moore signed up for it and eventually became Fraser Valley East chapter president in 2016.
Before the pandemic, Moore drove out monthly to the Abbotsford Recreation Centre. Once COVID came along, the support groups went online. Post-pandemic, the groups have remained online, which is more accessible to patients and their families. The online format has also enabled people from northern BC and the Yukon to participate.
McGeachie is the one who nominated Moore for the Medal of Good Citizenship, highlighting her work in Burnaby and with Crohn’s and Colitis Canada.
One day in early December 2023, as Moore checked her email, she noticed a strange message that mentioned the BC Government. She opened it cautiously and read it.
“I think I was speechless, to be honest. It’s such a great honour. I was surprised, honoured, definitely speechless, and very grateful and appreciative,” she said about her reaction to the news. “I’ve been a long-standing volunteer; even as a kid, I loved volunteering. I loved getting involved in causes and initiatives that inspired me. I’m very grateful for the recognition and just proud to be a BC and Burnaby citizen.”
At first, she could only tell close family members who were “over the moon” when they heard the news. They had to keep quiet until last Wednesday when the official press release came out, and then they shared it with friends and family.
Moore recognizes that volunteering is not for everyone. “I think volunteering is a privilege,” she said.
“It’s so rewarding. There’s never been a time where I am doing some sort of volunteering work, and I leave upset. I leave very grateful. It’s just a very rewarding, warm feeling that pushes me to continue.”
She said she has also acquired valuable time-management and communication skills from volunteering.
“It’s also a great way to meet people from all walks of life. There are people I met through volunteering who are my very good friends. And I would not have met them if I hadn’t volunteered in those positions. It’s just a great way to get to know your community and build those community connections.”
Moore says one of the most important lessons was that volunteering taught her the real meaning of empathy.
“In order to help people, you need to understand what they’re going through, what they’re feeling, and what they want in terms of support,” she said.
This piece was made possible by the Local Journalism Initiative.