Evelyn Pederson is a woman of compassion, tenacity, and courage. Having volunteered her whole life, Evelyn values community and connectivity. Well-known among her peers as Sunshine with her golden hair, bright smile, and passion for helping others, Evelyn has lived a life filled with purpose and dedication. Her story is one of unwavering commitment to health care and devotion to her community.

Evelyn’s journey began in 1951 when she joined the Ladies Auxiliary, a local volunteer group. Only 17 years old, her two sisters-in-law encouraged her to join the group. With her innate desire to care for others and the community, Evelyn joined the Ladies Auxiliary without question, but little did she know that this commitment would take her on a journey that left a lasting mark on her community.

The history

Founded in 1948, the Ladies Auxiliary, known today as the Surrey Memorial Hospital Auxiliary, played a huge role in the creation of the first hospital south of the Fraser River—what we know today as Surrey Memorial Hospital. By hosting dances and doing door-to-door canvassing, the group raised $100,000 to fund a third of the construction costs for the hospital. Evelyn said that the dances became popular events, attracting over a hundred people from the community eager to help raise money for their important cause that they held close to their hearts.

Evelyn vividly remembered the night when a famous band at the time, Slim Edwards, performed at one of their dances, filling the hall with memorable tunes. The Ladies Auxiliary tirelessly planned these dances, holding monthly meetings to ensure its success.

Throughout her life, Evelyn has lived by the philosophy that “whatever you take, you have to give back.” Involved in countless volunteer efforts, from teaching swimming lessons to serving as the secretary of a local baseball league, her involvement in the community has established a legacy that will live through generations to come. As one of the only surviving members of the original Ladies Auxiliary group, we are honoured to share this story of compassion, tenacity, and courage. We are grateful to Evelyn and all of the women from the Ladies Auxiliary for their efforts in building the foundation of our life-changing care today.