MANCHESTER, N.H. — Former UMass Lowell lacrosse player Noelle Lambert recently won a national award from L’Oreal Paris during a virtual ceremony. The 23-year-old Manchester, New Hampshire native, who lost a leg in a horrific accident a few years ago, beat out nine other women for the big honor.
But winning was only part of the surprise.
“I was shocked. I don’t know if you saw the video, but my instant reaction was to scream up to my mother,” Lambert said. That’s because she was stunned as Academy Award-winning actress, Helen Mirren, surprised her with the announcement. “I want to be the first to officially congratulate you on being named the 2020 L’oreal Paris Women of Worth National Honoree,” Mirren said.
A shocked Lambert said, “When her face came up on the screen I was just saying, ‘oh my God this is incredible, this is amazing.’ I’m a huge fan of hers, so to have her tell me I was national honoree was definitely very special.”
Lambert edged out nine other women who were nominated by L’Oreal Paris for the award, through a nationwide, online vote. Lambert founded her Born To Run Foundation after a moped accident on Martha’s Vineyard in 2016, the summer before her sophomore year of college, left her an amputee.
The foundation gives children and young adults specialized prosthetics. The honor will help the foundation financially, since most of its fundraising events have been canceled due to the pandemic.
“Receiving this $35,000 is going to help us donate two to three prosthetics and we have six people in line, so I want to get those prosthetics out there as fast as possible because I want them to live their lives the way they want to live it,” she said.
But Helen Mirren wasn’t the only A-list surprise. During the awards ceremony, another Academy Award winner, Viola Davis, introduced the story on Lambert. “Noelle Lambert is no stranger to obstacles of people telling her something can’t be done. She knows better than most if you have a goal, let nothing get in your way,” Davis said.
Lambert said she was floored the Davis introduced her story.
“I’m just so grateful. I was able to have her say my name out of her mouth and also Helen Mirren, it’s crazy and it’s surreal,” Lambert said.
The Born To Run Foundation is expected to donate its 11th prosthetic in the next few weeks. They typically cost between $10,000 and $15,000 and are not covered by insurance. Lambert continues to train for next summer’s Tokyo Paralympics.
Cox Media Group