Advancing Excellence in Parkinson’s Care in BC’s Interior
KELOWNA, B.C., January 31, 2024 –He’s left an indelible footprint in the potash industry in Canada and now Barry Humphreys is hoping to do the same in an area of health care that hits close to home for the retired octogenarian. Through their family foundation, Barry, with his wife Anne and their two children, Kim and Doug, have made a $1 million commitment to Kelowna General Hospital to radically advance care for those living with Parkinson’s disease in the southern interior of British Columbia.
The gift has been specifically earmarked to significantly increase capacity and expand the service model for the Movement Disorder Clinic at KGH, which was established in 2015 by KGH neurologist, Dr. Daryl Wile to support the needs of patients living with movement disorders like Parkinson’s disease.
Barry Humphreys was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2020.
“He’s been doing his best to gracefully navigate the changes he’s experienced in his body and mind as the disease has progressed,” explains Barry’s daughter, Kim Humphreys. “Dr. Wile is a brilliant neurologist. We believe in his vision to advance care for those like my Dad who are struggling to maintain their dignity and their independence while living with this disease.”
The Movement Disorder Clinic at KGH focuses on Parkinson’s disease, which affects roughly 2700 people in the Interior Health Region. Last year alone, over 300 people living in the region were diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. Dr. Wile says the clinic needs to expand services to meet that need and could set a new standard in care for those living with Parkinson’s disease in smaller communities.
“We have a high prevalence of Parkinson’s disease in Interior Health, perhaps because many folks, much like the Humphreys, choose to move to the region and make it home once they retire,” explains Dr. Wile. “We expect the numbers will continue to grow, as the primary risk factor for Parkinson’s disease is age.”
“The gift from the Humphreys is significant,” notes Dr. Wile. “We want to do more for these people and families. This investment will help grow the clinic’s capacity, and through partnership with the newly established Centre for Health Systems Learning and Innovation at KGH, we can continue to learn and develop our approach in ways that work best for our patients and our community.”
“The Humphreys Family have not only demonstrated generosity with this gift, but are to be commended for their courage in taking action in an area of care where this funding will truly have a profound and measurable impact,” says Dr. Wile.
Hailing from Langham, a small town located close to Saskatoon Saskatchewan, Barry has never shied away from hard work. Barry and Anne were married in 1967 and shortly after he began working as a junior accountant at the Duval Potash Mine that had just gone into production. The mine was eventually bought by the Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan (PCS), a crown corporation of the Provincial government. In 1989 PCS became a publicly traded company to form PotashCorp and eventually grew to be the world’s largest potash producer and the third largest producer of nitrogen and phosphate, three primary crop nutrients used to produce fertilizer. Barry received his Certified Management Accountant (CMA) designation as he pursued his career, working his way up to the executive team to become the Chief Financial Officer. He retired in 2004. PostashCorp merged with Calgary-based Agrium to form Nutrien in 2018.
The Humphreys Family maintains ties in Calgary, Vancouver and Toronto. Kim resides in Kelowna with her husband Dave Montpetit, both working extensively across Canada. Dr. Doug Humphreys practices Plastic Surgery in Calgary and is married to Michelle Humphreys with their three children Natalie, Ryan and Kate.
“Our hope is that this gift will inspire others who, like us, have been impacted by a loved one’s diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease,” says Kim. “For many who choose to retire to the Okanagan from big cities, a vital consideration is the quality of the hospital. Dr. Wile and his team are doing incredible work at KGH. If this hits close to home for others, we encourage them to really consider giving to support this work.”
The Humphreys gift announcement is the third major gift announcement by the KGH Foundation since last September in support of their $40 million ‘Closer to home than you think’ campaign. The campaign includes a $5 million commitment to establish a Centre of Excellence for Brain Health at KGH.
Since 1978, the KGH Foundation has worked with a generous community to raise funds to support world-class health care, close to home, for a rapidly expanding and diverse population in the interior of B.C. Today, the KGH Foundation is the lead fundraising organization for Kelowna General Hospital and its associated facilities, JoeAnna’s House and Central Okanagan Hospice House.