Charity: Cancer Laryngectomee Trust
Presenter: Martin Jarvis
Transmission: Sunday 9 May 2004 BBC Radio 4
Victoria Stainton, Martin Jarvis,
Carole Stainton - Cancer
Laryngectomee Trust trustee.
I’m going to speak to you for a couple of minutes. Yes, we all take our voice for granted, with it we can talk, laugh, read aloud, sing , without giving a second thought to what is actually going on in our throats.
Like so many of us I’m lucky, but imagine being told you have to trade your voice for your life. Over two thousand people a year in the UK have had to make that choice and one of those is John who was diagnosed with cancer of the larynx, or voicebox. His only option was to have it removed, which meant he would lose his speech he now has to breathe through a hole in his throat. Writing about his experience John said:
“Nothing could have prepared me for the isolation I felt. To be unable to respond when somebody speaks, or to laugh or cry out for help, made me feel helpless and frustrated. Fortunately, I had a great speech therapist who taught me that, with controlled belching, I could speak using air from my stomach, but it was almost a year before I could string a sentence together.”
John was able to find comfort and support in the Cancer Laryngectomee Trust, a small charity run by volunteers. It was founded nineteen years ago by someone who had had a laryngectomy. He had been shocked to find a lack of support and understanding even by some doctors who had not previously seen the condition. The charity offers a motivating free book ‘Laryngectomy is not a Tragedy’ to all laryngectomees and health professionals.
It also produces newsletters containing help and vital information for its members, arranges free social functions, promotes awareness and training in organisations such as St Johns Ambulance and gives modest grants to members, usually towards the purchase of medical equipment.
Membership of the charity, which survives solely on donations from the public, is free. I can tell you - Your donation, no matter how small, will make a real difference. Five pounds, for example, will pay for a copy of the book to be sent to a Speech Therapist to assist their work or fifteen pounds will pay for a Welcome Pack for a new member.
Please – use your voice: Make a donation now by telephoning 0800 044 044 that’s 0800 044 044 or send a cheque payable to CLT to PO Box 618, Halifax, HX3 8WX, alternatively download our donation form.
In putting this appeal into words, I’m grateful that I can.