PA Hospital Volunteer, Brien Hands, has spent the last 15 years providing reassurance and guidance to pre-operative total laryngectomy patients, after having undergone the same procedure.
Brien now hands over the torch to four new volunteers who will be filling the large gap left by his larger-than-life character.
“It’s something I’ve always done.
“I’ve always enjoyed helping people and, I don’t know if you can tell, but I also love to have a chat so that helps,” he said.
“I have enjoyed my time here and meeting all new people, or I should say meeting new friends, but I am 76 now and I feel like it’s my time”.
With approximately 15 total laryngectomies performed each year at PAH, Brien has helped hundreds of people prepare for the mental adjustment that comes with the confronting surgery.
PAH Speech Pathologist, Anne Johnson, said they have been exceptionally grateful for Brien’s generosity, not only of his time but his unfailingly positive attitude.
“It’s never too short notice for Brien, he’s exceptionally accommodating and very passionate about being here to support others.
“It’s his humour and manner that makes him such an asset to the patients here in 1D,” she said.
Not someone who is determined to sit on his laurels, Brien has travelled the world with his tracheostoma and voice prosthesis and says that’s something he would love to continue.
Now, with more time under his belt, maybe the team at PAH will see a post card soon from his latest destination.
Thank you, Brien, for the impact that you have made on patient’s lives and the staff at PA Hospital.