On Friday, 20 May, last Carol Gardner was informed of the sudden death of our Assistant Welfare Officer and esteemed member, Bruce Hodges. Bruce had attended our Meeting of 18 May where he commented that he was a bit “breathless.” He made the return trip but took him- self to Bankstown Hospital where he died from a heart attack the following Friday morning. Bruce has left instructions that his Servox device be left to the Association. In March/April he had had some bleeding (and “gunk”) up through the stoma. This was prior to him telling us of the narrowing of the stoma/trachea and his obvious breathlessness, for which he was seeking help.
Bruce was an Assistant Welfare Officer and Accredited Hospital Visitor for the Association for many years and helped many laryngectomees particularly in Western Sydney. He was a regular attendee at meetings and liked by all. He always had a twinkle in his eye and an impish smile.
It is with great sadness that we have to report the passing away of our long standing President - Brian Gardner at Neringah Palliative Care Hospital, Wahroonga on Friday 11th September, 2015.
Brian has been the President and bedrock, along with his wife Carol, of the Laryngectomee Association since 1998 when he took over from John Stein after his untimely death from a heart attack. He chaired our monthly meetings with humour yet managed to cover all points of view by engaging all members and including, especially new members, making them feel welcome and part of the group.
In addition to their running the Association, over the years Brian and Carol visited our various sub-branches throughout the State, plus most hospitals where they got to know Speech-Pathologists and met patients preparing to undergo their laryngectomy operations. Brian was also a ready volunteer in any research project involving the welfare of laryngectomees and attended the St George Hospital Speech-Pathologist/laryngectomee familiarisation each year as a guinea pig.
The funeral service was held on Friday 18th September at the Palm Chapel at the Macquarie Park Cemetery and Crematorium, North Ryde with at least 200 people in attendance including a large group of laryngectomees and Speech-Pathologists.
Born in Sydney, Brian acquired the nickname of “Smacka” as a boy although the origin of that name has vanished in the mists of time. His brother Barry had many stories to relate of their childhood together and their schooling at Marist College North Shore, particularly how Brian loved all sporting pursuits especially rugby league. How he joined the police force, being posted to Narrabri, coming back to Sydney to marry the love of his life Carol and starting out on family life.
His daughters Kelly and Karen told of their childhood with their loving and dedicated father, even though he was rarely there through the week owing to his police work the weekends were devoted to the family. How they impressed their friends when Brian often picked them up in a police car and they played with the police radio.
Detective Chief Superintendent Wayne Gordon gave a tribute to Brian’s police career, his progression through the ranks, many awards he had received, notable criminal investigations that he had been involved with and how having a laryngectomy had impacted his police work in his becoming office based rather than being in the thick of the action.
Brian will be remembered by his three daughters, Lynne, Karen and Kelly as a devoted father and by his wife, Carol, as a devoted husband. By fellow laryngectomees he will be remembered for his compassion and his willingness to help others in need. His fellow police will remember him for his strong sense of moral obligation and the importance of punishing those who committed crimes or harmed others. I think all of us will remember Brian for his warm hearted nature, kindness, sense of humour and for all the hard work he put into those causes he was passionate about. He will be sadly missed.
I was wondering, if you have a spare moment to consider sharing a survey with your support group? The background to this is that Cancer Council are in the process of collecting community opinion of;
- patient accommodation facilities (patients who have accessed accommodation)
- Cancer Support Group settings (to capture patients who potentially didn’t access accommodation)
The purpose of surveying support groups is to capture those that may have ‘missed out’ on accommodation, and to understand why. I’m unsure if a substantial number of people living in metro Sydney would actually access patient accommodation. Possibly there isn’t as a strong a need, but also I imagine accommodation facilities would give top priority to regional and rural patients. IPTAAS provides subsidies for patients living over 100km away so ineligibility for the rebate may affect demand.
There is the potential that Cancer Council to support access to affordable accommodation into the future based on feedback from the community.
Lauren Foy | Community Programs Coordinator Metro Sydney, Community Engagement and Program Delivery Cancer Council NSW T: (02) 9334 1711| WEB | FAN | TWEET | TUBE | HELPLINE 153 Dowling Street Woolloomooloo NSW 2011
The main business of the Annual General Meeting of the LANSW held on March 18 has been postponed to the next meeting to be held on April 15. The taking of nominations and appointment of officers was expected to take place but it was voted that this be transferred to the April meeting.
At the opening of the AGM, the Treasurer / Secretary / Welfare Officer, Carol Gardner, showed some emotion when she commenced reading her notes. One of the attendees, Michael Schey, whose son is a laryngectomee but who is fully voiced himself, graciously offered to read her notes on her behalf.
The meeting had been thrown into some confusion when it became clear that Carol would not be accepting renomination for her positions and it was implied that the President, her husband Brian Gardner, would also not stand for reelection. This was exacerbated by the fact that the AGM was not as well attended and, in the light of Carol's withdrawal, insufficient nominations for the positions had been received. Antoni Krasnodebski also reiterated his reluctance to continue his duty as Newsletter Editor.
A degree of acrimony developed when criticisms of association's operation published on Facebook in the support group Strictly Speaking came to light. The author, Janet Waddell, one of the group's originators, raised concerns at the meeting regarding her lack of information on the procedure for nominations. Her attention was drawn to the December Newsletter's Positions Vacant in which the duties of officers were stated, nomination forms appeared, and in which it was stated that members could self nominate. She had also been critical of the attention given at meetings to the reading of the association's financial status. It was pointed out that this was formally required to maintain status as a recognised charitable association.
Members are urged to attend April's Extraordinary meeting and to seriously consider standing for position as officers. The future of their association and its ability to continue to appropriately support laryngectomees is in the hands of the members.
See April 2015 Newsletter Positions Vacant; Nomination Form