Darryll & Lee Frost

As president of Central City Brewing and Distillery, Darryll Frost’s connection to the SFU Faculty of Science began with discussions on how to implement a course on the Science of Brewing for university students. The course was a huge hit and laid the foundation for more credit and non-credit courses to follow. Now Frost is onto his next project with SFU and it doesn’t involve beer.

In 2012, Frost’s then three year-old son, Callum, was diagnosed with Pervasive Development Disorder, a type of autism. His mother, Lee Frost, describes Callum’s behavior at the time of his diagnosis. “At age three, Callum was non-verbal and throwing tantrums throughout the day. He beat himself, screamed, self stimulated with objects, stared into space, displayed aggressive behaviour and suffered high levels of anxiety.  He was an extremely low functioning child, unable to do anything for himself (feeding, dressing, toilet needs, speaking or communicating). However, with dietary changes and intense hyperbaric therapy he is now talking in sentences, he is more compliant, he no longer has sensory issues or shows any of the odd behaviours that once engulfed him and attends Kindergarten with an aid. He is now toilet trained, he can feed himself and swallow capsules, dress himself and has more confidence than his twin brother. Our son is coming back to us fast and furious.”

Convinced that Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) was key to Callum’s recovery, Frost began planning how he could help other families. This month, Darryl and Lee Frost generously committed $500,000 to establish the Callum Frost Professorship in Translational Research in Autism. The Professorship will enable the Faculty of Science to appoint a world-class researcher who will investigate atypical brain development with a strong focus on autism. Through the establishment of this professorship, Darryll and Lee remain committed to supporting research that leads to a better understanding of the effectiveness of HBOT and other therapies in the treatment of autism. SFU is well placed to carry out this research as it operates the only civilian hyper/hypobaric chamber in Canada. “Our chamber, located within the Environmental Medicine and Physiology Unit in the Faculty of Science, is ideal for this study”, says Peter Ruben, Associate Dean for Research in the Faculty of Science. “The chamber can treat up to six people at once. Unlike some privately operated chambers, it’s extremely safe as it’s certified by the BC Safety Authority and inspected by WorkSafe BC. The autism research will pave the way for future work on other brain disorders and injuries.”

Dean of Science, Claire Cupples says, “We believe that this generous gift from Darryll and Lee will help the scientific community to better understand the development and function of the human brain, and will ultimately lead to the adoption of scientifically-proven therapies to help children like Callum.”