29th March 2018

Celebration for Bay man who supported many without a voice

A special birthday celebration was held at Tauranga Hospital recently marking the 90th birthday of local man Brian Albrecht and honouring his many years as a volunteer supporting people who've lost their voice.

More than 25 years ago Brian had his voice box removed (Laryngectomy) due to throat cancer. Back in the day he was a smoker, a time when the health consequences of smoking were not widely known. Since then he's dedicated his life to educating people young and old on what they can do to stay healthy.

He's gone into classrooms and shown school children how his artificial larynx works while talking to them about the harmful realities of smoking.

Brian's also supported many people in the Bay of Plenty through the support group "Lost Cord". The group is for those who have also had their voice boxes removed or to help coach those who are about to lose their voice box. He shows them how to use a speaking valve or artificial larynx.

"Brian's featured in training videos, posters and the like, that we use to support people both before and after having their voice boxed removed," says BOPDHB Speech and Language Therapy Team Leader Fiona Hewerdine.

"These materials are also used to educate the public that talking in lots of different ways is still great communication. It's such a major life changing event and the work Brian has done really has made a difference. Brian we salute you."

The Lost Cord support group meets in Tauranga four times a year. For more details contact Fiona Hewerdine on 07 579 8788.

Photo caption (above): BOPDHB Speech and Language Therapy Team Leader Fiona Hewerdine celebrates Brian Albrecht's 90th birthday and his voluntary services to helping others. 

For more details contact:

James Fuller
Communications Advisor
Bay of Plenty District Health Board

Last updated: August 29, 2018