The staff and volunteers at BC Schizophrenia Society (BCSS) are saddened to hear of the passing of Sharon Evans, Co-Chair of the BCSS Policy Committee, and previous President of the Mental Health and Wellness Centre (formerly the BCSS Penticton Branch) for the past 13 years.

In her time with BCSS, Sharon played an instrumental role in helping family members gain confidence in supporting their loved ones living with schizophrenia and serious mental illness.

Our current Board Member, Matthew Langlois, tells us how he first met Sharon.

At first, I thought Sharon didn’t like me. She was abrupt, quick-witted, and to-the-point. She didn’t waste time or resources on areas that wouldn’t serve the board. I had mistakenly thought that perhaps she was tired of running this branch after a full career as a psychiatric nurse.

But once you get to know Sharon and understand her goals for the BCSS you begin to realize how important were her tactics. Her head, heart, and actions were 100% driven towards helping the underserved in our region handle schizophrenia and other severe mental illness.

The respect I have for Sharon is unmatched. Through illness, surviving polio, and disability – she pushed through and ran that branch (with its limited funds) more efficiently and passionately than most people I’ve ever met.

The more I learned from Sharon, the more her passion for BCSS rubbed off on me. If it weren’t for her, my 4 years (and counting) serving the board would likely have fizzled out. Sharon spent years of her retired life, sometimes early morning until late night, working to help those who are suffering while working through her own pain, right up until the end of her life. Watching such an inspiration gave me the drive to realize people can pretty much do anything if they work towards it and so I pledged to do my best to try to do even half as much as Sharon.

Sharon not only drove my desire to serve the BCSS, she actually changed my life. She inspired me to try and be a better version of myself. I know her legacy will live on and I hope the BCSS Penticton Branch will continue to thrive in her absence.

Sharon, we will miss you. And we thank you for all you have contributed to the recovery of people with serious mental illness themselves and for the organizations that advocate for them.