I met Marion 9 years ago when I decided to return to University of Alberta to finish my Education degree after my accident, which left me a C6/7 quadriplegic. I remember the first time I wheeled into Specialized Support & Disability Services (SSDS) at the Student Union building at the U of A, I was greeted by laughter from Marion Vosahlo and Pat Sears bouncing ideas off each other on how to help the students with disabilities. My fear and worries disappeared quickly at that moment because I met two very passionate people whom I had a feeling that would take good care of my educational needs. Pat Sears became my counselor then Joanne Yardley in my years at the University… all with very close support from Marion (whom I found out later was the founding Director of SSDS). When I became the first Quadriplegic female to earn an Elementary Education degree in 2006, Marion and SSDS was right there to cheer me on. I credit my success partly to the services provided to me by SSDS and wonderful supporters such as Marion, Pat, Joanne and many more because they took the stress of having a disability and took care of the “how to’s” such as adaptive equipment, exam accommodations, funding applications etc away and allowed me to focus on my education. I’m only 1 example of the many students with disabilities that have graduated the U of A due to the support from SSDS in the past 30 years… thanks to great leadership from passionate people and advocate such as Marion.
Marion Beate (Ati) Vosahlo, at the age of 64, lost battle to Lupus on March 24, 2011. Over 150 friends, colleagues and students attended the celebrate Marion’s life gathering at the University of Alberta Faculty Club on April 7th, 2011.