Sarah Lambert on Advocacy

An interview with Sarah Lambert on Advocacy on October 22, 2023 by George Ackerman, Ph.D, J.D.




I grew up in Port Angeles, Washington and learned about Parkinson’s Disease when my father was diagnosed when I was in high school. At first, we did not see many symptoms and slowly progressed for the next 10 years. I moved to Astoria, Oregon, got married, and had two daughters and when they were about 3 my father’s health declined more rapidly. I spent as much time as I could with him and in and thankful, I did since he passed away in January of 2017.


Can you tell me more about your advocacy?


I have volunteers for many Parkinson’s organizations over the last 10+ years. I began by volunteering for the Brian Grant Foundation for their annual gala and gold tournaments. I then hosted multiple fundraisers for the Michael J. Fox Foundation and Parkinson’s Resources of Oregon. When the World Parkinson’s Congress was in Portland, I was a volunteer coordinator and continued that role three years later in Kyoto, Japan.  I went to Washington D.C. with the Michael J Fox foundation to advocate for Parkinson’s patient and caregivers support and funding. I continue to volunteer and fundraise for the Parkinson’s Resources of Oregon and advocate for Parkinson’s care and research.


What is your passion and how did you get involved in Parkinson’s awareness and hope for a cure?


After my father was diagnosed with Parkinson’s and I started seeing the effects it was having on his life I began researching what I could do to help. At the time I did not have the funds to donate, so I began trying to volunteer and raise funds any way I could find. I have tried to be part of any event that I can, although it is not always easy to find time with a family, school, and full-time work. Parkinson’s research is important to me, and I will continue to spend any spare time I have helping.


What would you like to see as a future goal for your advocacy?


I would like to get more involved in the advocating in the state and federal governments. I have done a little at both levels, but do not currently know how to help more and need to research how I can be of more assistance.


What events do you participate in?


Every year I join Sole Support with the Parkinson’s Resources of Oregon. I have previously helped with PRO’s gala and the Brian Grant Foundation gala. I was a volunteer coordinator for the World Parkinson’s Congress but was unable to attend in Spain this year. I hope to join them for their next congress. I have advocated with the Michael J Fox Foundation at the state and national level previously.


How does your advocacy also assist the caregivers?


I try to help support caregivers whenever I can since I played that role part-time and watched my mom have that role full-time. When I went to Washington D.C. we were advocating for financial support for caregivers.  I would like to help more in this area but have not found many ways to do so yet.


How can others also become advocates for awareness?


I think the best way to advocate for awareness is to educate yourself. Join newsletters, read books, and research local and national organizations. Once you have the knowledge it is easy to share with friends, family, and anyone you meet!


How can we better fundraise to support a cure for Parkinson’s?


I think they key to better fundraise is to get support from people outside of the Parkinson’s community. Parkinson’s effects so many people and causes a large financial toll on the families. We need to spread the word about how common PD is and how important it is to find a cure before more families are devastated by this disease.


Why should people who don’t have Parkinson’s care about this?


PD cases are on the rise, so even if you don’t have it or don’t know anyone who does, chances are you will know someone with PD in your lifetime. Also, there are many other diseases so closely tied to PD, if we can find help and a cure for one, we can help with numerous diseases.


If you had one final statement or quote you could leave for the Parkinson’s community, what would it be?


Keep fighting PD, and we’ll keep fighting to find a cure!