Retired lawyer and longtime brain injury advocate David Marr was honoured recently with a lifetime achievement award for his passion and service.
Marr’s advocacy work for the local association was instrumental in bringing awareness of brain injury to the Kamloops region.
As a founder of the Kamloops Brain Injury Association and the Brain Injury Alliance of B.C., Marr was instrumental in establishing the alliance and in securing funding through the provincial government.
“I’m very grateful for receiving it,” Marr said of the honour.
His work saw him directly speaking out for brain injury survivors as a lawyer in court, ensuring there was a well-rounded support system in place for them outside the courthouse.
Marr specialized his legal practice in the area of brain injury and often helped survivors of brain injury get heard in court.
“I’m a little bit hesitant.” Marr said, of receiving the award. “I worked with such wonderful people putting together the Kamloops Brain Injury Association when we started in 1986.”
That year, a group of brain injury survivors approached Marr, asking if they could start an organization.
During the first three years, the Kamloops Brain Injury Association was nothing more than a coffee party, held once a month in Marr’s reception room office.
“They came from Merritt, from Ashcroft, from Salmon Arm and from Kamloops,” Marr said. “Two nurses came down and talked to them about how they should exist in the community and where they should seek help. You could just see the relief in their faces, having somebody that understood their problems.”
Marr said there is a long list of others who have helped over the years, including members of the community, Royal Inland Hospital and individual supporters, such as the late Dr. Gur Singh.
Marr has helped the alliance meet its mandate of securing funding for brain injury services across the province, securing more than $8 million of funding for local, community-based associations in B.C.
“This award isn’t just about the alliance, it’s about a body of work over his entire career,” said David Johnson, executive director of the Kamloops Brain Injury Association. “He’s had a very big impact locally, but he’s also had that impact provincially.”
The Brain Injury Alliance of B.C. was created in 2014 and represents 14 associations in the province.