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Pack, Mary

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Pack, Mary

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Doris Mary Pack was born 8 October, 1904, in Ampthill, Bedfordshire, England, where she completed her early education. In 1922, at the age of 18, she emigrated to Canada with her family. She completed an undergraduate degree at the University of British Columbia and received a teaching certificate from Provincial Normal School. She began her teaching career in Vancouver in 1936 and in 1940 was appointed to the Vancouver School Board as teacher to students whose physical disabilities made travel to school an impossibility. It was during this period that Miss Pack became interested in the plight of those affected by diseases such as arthritis and rheumatism. Between 1943 and 1947 she began actively researching these afflictions, determining that little was known about or being done to develop treatments, cures, or awareness in the public at large. She organized a letter-writing campaign, targetting newspapers, universities, medical groups, and governments. As a result, the Canadian Arthritis and Rheumatism Society (C.A.R.S.) was formed in 1947. Mary Pack quit teaching to take on the full-time position as Executive Director of the B.C. Division of C.A.R.S., a post she held from 1948-1969. After retiring from the position, she remained active as a volunteer with the organization for many years. For her humanitarian achievements, Mary Pack has been awarded an impressive list of honours, including the Queen Elizabeth medal, 1953; the Order of Canada, 1974; Vancouver's Freedom of the City award, 1979; and was the first women to receive the Royal Bank award in 1976 for her outstanding contribution to humanity and common good. She was granted an honorary Doctor of Law degree from the University of British Columbia in 1973. Pack has also authored an autobiography entitled "Never Surrender", which was published in 1974 by Mitchell Press. Mary Pack died in 1992.

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