Philanthropist donates $1M to KGH Foundation to advance brain health – Kelowna News

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Local philanthropist Tom Budd has made his largest single donation ever to the Kelowna General Hospital Foundation to establish the Payton & Dillon Budd Brain Health Medical Fund.

The $1 million endowment is specifically dedicated to advancing brain health care at KGH.

“It is time to take action”, says Tom Budd.

Establishing the endowment is the culmination of Budd’s long-held desire to honour his sons, Payton and Dillon Budd. Sadly, both young men battled their own mental health challenges. Dillon, just 13 years old, made the tragic decision to end his life in 2015. Two years later, his brother Payton made the same heartbreaking decision.

“I am trying to live a life that my sons would be proud of.

“My boys were deeply loved. This gift, and every philanthropic commitment I have made or will ever make, is an expression of my enduring love for them, and the compassion I feel for all others who have lost a child or loved one to mental health challenges or neurological brain disorder,” Budd says.

Budd’s mother battled Parkinson’s disease and dementia and she played a major role in his decision to direct the money directly towards brain health care at the clinical level.

“Brain health encompasses all of the areas of well-being the brain is responsible for, physical and mental,” explains KGH neurologist, Dr. Daryl Wile. “Neurologists and specialists in this discipline focus on cognitive, sensory, social-emotional, behavioral, and motor domains of brain functioning. While it is frequently discussed independently, mental health is a component of brain health.”

“It is an area of health care that is vitally important,” says Allison Young, CEO of the KGH Foundation. “Mental illness and neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s, ALS, Alzheimer’s and dementia are devastating to those who are suffering, and their families.”

Budd calls the gift an investment in the future of brain healthcare.

“Without hope, there is no path forward. My hope is that this gift will inspire others to act as well, and that by working together, we can make a real difference in this community when it comes to brain health care,” says Budd.

“We are incredibly grateful for Tom’s leadership,” adds Dr. Aleksander Tkach, Neurologist and Director of IH Stroke Services. “We have an opportunity to establish KGH as a hub for world-class research, innovation and most critically, a leader in the delivery of brain health care, close to home, for those who live in the southern interior of B.C.”

The KGH Foundation is $40 million ‘Closer to home than you think’ campaign launched in the spring of 2023. The campaign includes a $5 million commitment to establish a Centre of Excellence for Brain Health – a hub for training, research, innovation, and leadership development in the clinical neurosciences at Kelowna General Hospital.

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