Remembering Mary Lambert

Mary Lambert recently passed away. Mary was a strong and passionate voice for the human rights of people with disabilities, and changed many lives for the better – arguably she still does as the projects she began continue to impact people.

In 1977 Mary the teenager moved away from her family in the Okanagan to Vancouver to live at GPC (Pearson). Three years later she moved out.  She was among the first residents to make the move out into the community. She had dreams – she had things to do! She had a physical disability but that wasn’t going to stop her.

Mary didn’t forget about her friends still living at Pearson and came back to advocate for transitioning GPC Residents into the community. With the support of the DABC (then named BCCPD), in 1998 Mary co-founded CARMA with Taz Pirbhai, a social worker who had also lived briefly at Pearson and moved back to the community. Mary was a key project leader until 2001. What she helped start continues to this day – CARMA still strives to support residents of GPC and still helps them move into the community if that is what they choose.

Mary was a strong advocate for people with disabilities in general, and served on various Boards (including HandyDart). Mary lived in a co-op that she helped to create and eventually lived with a ventilator that she managed at home. She was an important leader on issues like accessible housing, transportation, home support and individualized funding.  We remember Mary and we thank her.

If I can help just one other person along their road to independence, I will have accomplished something money can’t buy, and no one can take that away from me.

Lambert, Mary  (1997, March/April). Where There’s a Will, There’s a Way Transition, 20-22.