“On March 15, 2000, I was returning from lunch and got a call from my wife, Jeannette, who said, ‘come to Kimberly’s house, she’s in a bad way’, and by the time I arrived, the paramedics were there and she’d been pronounced dead. She was two weeks away from her 25th birthday.”
-Roger Barney • 2020 Community Hearts & Hands Award recipient and Kimberly’s father
It all started with a chronic pain condition caused by a neuroma on the bottom of Kimberly Barney’s foot, for which she was prescribed Vicodin. The surgery to repair it was unsuccessful, and the condition was treated with the extensive use of prescribed opioids by a succession of doctors. During that time, an addiction took hold, and Roger and Jeannette watched their bubbly, upbeat daughter with a wonderful sense of humor turn into an angry, almost unrecognizable version of herself.
Four years later, when the pain became too much, she intentionally overdosed. Following the loss of their daughter, Roger and Jeannette made the decision to turn their family’s tragedy into hope for other children and families. They started by contracting Rosemary Tisch of Celebrating Families! to create a curriculum for schools that would address legal, prescribed drugs. Later that same year, they held the first of many fundraisers benefiting Uplift Family Services’ Addiction Prevention Services, which raised close to one million dollars throughout the years. Then, in 2001, Roger joined the Uplift Family Services Board of Directors, where he remains to this day. He says,
“For the last 19 years, I’ve been carrying the torch because I believe so much in this program. And, if I can save one child, it’s worth it.”
With Roger’s continued leadership and support, we’ve impacted countless children’s lives. However, the need for services is increasing as the opioid epidemic reaches crisis levels. Though many children are taught about the dangers of illegal drugs, they don’t often realize that prescription drugs can be just as addictive and harmful. Opioids are responsible for over 100 deaths every single day, and 90% of those who are addicted to opiates will relapse within the first year after completing a traditional treatment program, which is why prevention is so essential. Nothing can bring Kimberly back. However, her legacy lives on.
“How do I feel about all this?” says Roger. “I feel Kimberly has made a huge difference in the world.”
We invite you to join us at this year’s Hearts & Hands Luncheon! Join us as we honor Roger Barney with the Community Hearts & Hands Award for his leadership and advocacy of our mission. In his honor, funds raised will go towards our Addiction Prevention Services, as well as our “Whatever it Takes” fund.
Hearts & Hands Virtual Luncheon
Friday, September 18, 2020 • 12:00pm – 1:00pm
Unable to attend this year? You can still help us provide valuable services to those in need.
“We live in a world in which we need to share responsibility. It’s easy to say, ‘It’s not my child, not my community, not my problem.’ Then there are those who see the need and respond. I consider those people my heroes.” – Fred Rogers