A Pemberton family is reeling from the “senseless” loss of their son, after the 34-year-old accomplished athlete was found dead on Wednesday, Sept. 13. Liam Fisher went missing while attending the Grenada Hash House Harriers run.
Liam had been studying medicine at St. George’s University, Grenada. He was motivated always by his sister Riva, who died of cancer in 2017.
Liam’s parents, Hugh and Hillary, spoke to Pique about their son’s extraordinary life—a series of remarkable adventures and fundraisers. “He grew up in Pemberton. He was a skier, a snowboarder, a mountain-biker, a kayaker. He was a child of this area,” said Hugh. “He excelled at high school. He won championships with the dragon boat team and travelled all over the world. He was on the Canada team when he was 14. He won gold medals. He was a very accomplished athlete.”
Liam used his passion for all things fitness to inspire others to achieve their goals and to change things in the fitness world. He had a keen interest in muscle physiology, which is what led him on an adventure to New Zealand. “One of the prominent places to study this is Auckland, so he went to Auckland,” said Hugh. “He graduated with honours. He came back to Canada and decided to be entrepreneurial and open a gym in North Vancouver: MVMT Academy,” he said.
“He wanted to bring the scientific principles that he learned at university to weight training. He had tons of successful clients and was consulting other gyms.”
When COVID-19 hit, gyms all across Canada struggled to make ends meet. Liam was not ready to take it lying down. He reinvented himself as an online presence. He shared workout videos and advice to his growing thousands of followers stuck at home. Liam later sold his gym so he could go into medicine, another way of positively influencing the people and the world around him.
On the recommendation of a family friend, Liam applied to St. George’s University, a private medical school in Grenada, and was accepted almost straight away. Here his drive and determination led him to academic success. “He was on the Dean’s List in the first term,” said Hugh. “He was so passionate about Grenada and living there. He was so focused on his academics. He was a remarkable guy who was loved by virtually everyone who met him.”
Hillary stressed her son had a knack for making the most out of every opportunity given to him, and making lots of friends while he did it. “He was so happy to be there,” she said. “He had decided to live on a sailboat, and sometimes he paddled his SUP up to class in the morning. He was incredibly driven, disciplined and able to work hard. He also really had a gift for enjoying life, knowing what he wanted and going after it.”
Liam and his sister Riva were incredibly close, and her death in 2017 motivated him to put as much time as he could into incredible fundraising efforts. “They loved each other,” said Hillary. “They were that brother and sister that used to fight all the time, but they stood up for each other whenever they could.”
Riva was diagnosed with brain cancer when she was in her first year of university. “She lived a really full life through chemotherapy, radiation therapy and multiple surgeries,” said Hugh. “It was really hard on all of us, but especially on her older brother. He was going to school in New Zealand at the time. When she died, he did a lot of fundraising for mental health and cancer research. He was very well-respected in those areas.”
Since his sudden death, Liam’s friends have been gathering around his distraught parents. “He had a lot of amazing adventures, a lot of them I didn’t even know about! His friends are telling us,” said Hugh.
“It’s just an absolute loss. Last week, he scored one of the highest marks in the university on the first test of term. He was excited by that. He was living the life he wanted and he was super happy. He was the happiest we have heard him since Riva died.”
Liam’s family is struggling to come to grips with the circumstances surrounding the young, fit man’s death.
“We don’t know what happened,” said Hugh. “The race was in hot, humid conditions, but those are the conditions he trained in all of the time. In typical fashion, he hadn’t really told anyone he was doing the race.”
Alarm bells were raised when the aspiring doctor didn’t show up to class on Monday, sparking an extensive search.
“They located his hat, [and] that kind of set them off in an odd direction,” said Hugh. “St. George’s have been absolutely in communication with us. The chief of police down there had us on the phone every hour or so to update us with what was going on. Then, shockingly, they called and said they had located his body on Tuesday evening.”
While Liam’s parents are eager for answers, they’re struggling to cope with the “senseless” tragedy. “It just doesn’t make sense,” said Hillary.
“It just seems so unexpected. The life of our son has just been cut short for reasons that are unfathomable,” added Hugh.
Liam’s legacy of determination and kindness is already living on. One of his classmates from India has vowed to feed a thousand people in his name. Last weekend, Pemberton and Mount Currie locals took part in the annual Terry Fox Run in Liam’s honour. They raised an impressive sum of nearly $8,000 for the Terry Fox Run.
“Liam was a passionate supporter of cancer research,” said Natalie Langmann, executive director of the Pemberton and District Chamber of Commerce.
“A few years ago, he rolled a massive tire to raise funds for cancer research dedicated to his sister Riva who sadly lost her own battle with cancer.”
The family told Pique they have received incredible support from the community and Liam’s wide circle of friends. “We don’t really know how to go forward from this,” said Hillary. “But it does help to have a lot of love and support from the community.”
Hugh added Whistler and Pemberton will miss their son. “Death among athletes is something that happens a lot here. To have it happen like this is just absolutely shocking and senseless,” said Hugh. “At the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter what the questions or answers are, because our son is dead and gone. Nothing can really change that. It just seems like he’s gone on another one of his adventures.”