Lending a helping hand
Codroy Valley comes together to show support for Barry Hughes
Barry Hughes has a lot of friends in the Codroy Valley.
Last month he and his family realized just how many through the support they received on Jan. 21 when the community hosted a fundraising benefit for him.
Hughes was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease 12 years ago.
The fundraiser held at the St. Kevin’s Centre raised money to help him with his medical expenses.
“There were people from all the communities in the Codroy Valley. We raised $7,000 and there are still donations coming in,” said Annette O’quinn who helped organize the benefit.
Donations are still coming in, she said, and will likely reach $10,000.
O’Quinn is a family friend of Barry and his wife Millie.
Parkinson’s is caused by a degeneration of the cells which produce dopamine in the brain. The symptoms of the disease ( which may include shaking or tremors, slow movement, soft speech, muscle stiffness, and difficulty with walking) appear when over half of the dopamine-producing cells are lost.
Barry is originally from Green Island Cove on the province’s Great Northern Peninsula.
He met Millie while fishing in the Codroy Valley. Millie is from the Codroy Valley. It’s where they settled and raised their family.
“Barry was a fisherman but he turned carpenter. He did a lot of carpentry work for a lot of people around here. And Millie works at the local pharmacy,” O’Quinn said.
The symptoms and progression of Parkinson’s varies from person to person.
Barry now uses a walker for mobility.
He recently travelled to a Parkinson’s clinic in Ottawa for treatment. He returns to the clinic in August for followup.
O’Quinn said many people helped organized the benefit. Patsy Brownrigg and Kelly Tompkins organized the local talent and hosted the fundraiser, she said.
“There were people with accordions and guitars. People came prepared to sing. So we had a full night of local talent. People bought food... it’s was just one big venture amongst everybody,” O’Quinn said.
When contacted by phone, Millie – who attended the benefit – said her family is overwhelmed with the support they have received from people throughout the Codroy Valley.
“It was really overwhelming to see the support that we have. Not just the financial but just knowing how much people really do care. You don’t really realize it until a time like this,” Millie said.
Barry and Millie Hughes with their daughter, Cathy, who lives in Petawawa, Ontario.