Internet Laryngectomee Support
April 2001

World-Class Yacht Racer is also a Laryngectomee

         What does a race car driver do when he discovers he has cancer of the larynx, will have to have his voicebox removed, and that his days of driving competitively are over?  If your name is Neville Crichton, you decide you will race sailboats instead.

        New Zealand-born Neville Crichton is the owner and skipper of the ocean racing yacht “Shockwave.”  Shockwave is in a sailing class called “maxis,” and his 80 foot boat is considered at present to be unbeatable.  Shockwave is the fifth yacht of this name owned by Crichton. 

        Crichton made his considerable fortune buying and selling car dealerships in Australia, New Zealand, and Hawaii.  At one point he had the distributorship rights for Suzuki.  His imported car line presently includes Kia, Alpha Romeo and Citroen.  Alpha Romeo is a cosponsor of the yacht along with Qantas Airlines. 

        He also owns the New Zealand boat building company, "Sensation Yachts," which has done well recently in part because of the interest created in the America’s Cup racing series, and in ocean sailboat racing in general.  The America’s Cup regatta is scheduled for August 2001, and Shockwave will race in that and several other races in Europe.  Crichton may also take a crack at the transatlantic sailing record while he is at it.

        Crichton was ahead in the annual 630 mile Sydney to Hobart race when he withdrew due to gale force winds, snow, and boat damage.  Several of the other more competitive boats in the race also withdrew due to weather and structural damage.  Shockwave sustained damage to the rudder when it is believed it hit one of the many dolphins circling the racers. 

        In the 1998 Sydney to Hobart race six sailors lost their lives when their boats broke apart.  Dozens of boats capsized.  While some criticized Crichton's withdrawal this year, others understood that further risking of lives and possibly a million dollars worth of damage to the boat was  simply not worth it.  Shockwave is built of lightweight carbon fiber.  Boats built for speed are much more fragile than those built for durability.

        Clearly, Neville Crichton is also built for speed and loves to come out on top, whether it is overcoming cancer of the larynx, or sailing into victory.

        (Thanks to Antoni Krasnodebski of New South Wales, Australia, for the story suggestion. Photos courtesy of AutoWeb).

The Secretary and The Brochure

        Question: What's purple, blue, (etc.), and read all over?  Answer: the new WebWhispers Brochure. 

        In the "it pays to know people in high places" department, WebWhispers Secretary Bob Hodge of North Carolina had a very special personal friend who is in the graphics and printing business.  The friend, who wishes to remain anonymous, is president and CEO of a very large and busy graphics and printing business.  He had lost his wife to cancer years before and wanted to do something to help cancer survivors.  Between Bob and his friend, the WW Brochure Project took flight in a project which took many months to complete.

        Bob monitored the project and provided coordination with the printer as Pat Sanders and David Blevins designed the brochure and put it together.  Bob had to demonstrate extraordinary patience as the brochure very slowly took form over nearly five months as other fixed deadlines took precedence over this otherwise very important project. 

        Full color printing is very expensive, but Bob's friend agreed to go with color.  Ultimately, several thousands of copies of the brochure were printed.

        The brochure is part of our plan to significantly raise awareness about WebWhispers and what we offer, and to increase membership.  Another strategy to accomplish this was to advertise in the January issue of the IAL News.  The brochure is designed to be distributed to those who come into contact with prospective or new laryngectomees such as club hospital visitors, SLPs, ENTs, etc.

        In the folded position, the front of the brochure is the blue panel (printed, they are more purple) with the name done vertically.  On the back is the story of the founding and founder of WebWhispers, Dutch Helms.  As you open it you see the series of questions superimposed on the Inhealth outline graphic of a laryngectomee, our logo, and how WebWhispers helps to answer the questions. (Printed material in the left panel is replaced with the gray strips in the graphic above because the print size is too small to seen on computer monitors.)

        Opened up all the way and on the reverse is a panel on the WebWhispers Journal, an overview of the Hints, and list of other features on our website. (Printed material in the center and right panels are replaced with the gray strips in the graphic above because the print size is too small to seen on computer monitors.)

        Clearly our club has and will continue to greatly benefit from Bob's efforts in finding the resources to put this quality brochure together. 

        Copies of the brochure can be obtained from Bob at:  

or write him at:

Mr. Bob Hodge
220 Kelso Court
Cary, NC 27511

Chemotherapy/Radiation Use in Treating Throat Cancers
by Greg Wolf, M.D.

        One of the most exciting advances in the treatment of patients with advanced laryngeal cancer has been the introduction of chemotherapy as initial treatment.  In pioneering work, the Veterans Affairs Laryngeal Center Study Group demonstrated that several cycles of initial chemotherapy combined with radiation can be as successful as total laryngectomy in curing patients with advanced cancer when the tumor responds to initial chemotherapy.  For such patients, laryngeal function, voice, swallowing and quality of life are preserved. 

        This approach has now been extended to patients with pharyngeal (throat) cancers that would normally also require total laryngectomy.  More recent studies have shown the feasibility of using a single treatment of initial chemotherapy to determine which cancers will respond, and then treating these patients with combined, simultaneous chemotherapy and radiation.  Unfortunately, patients who have cancer which is unresponsive to INITIAL chemotherapy must undergo total laryngectomy with its resultant side effects. 

        Fortunately, cure rates are the same in both groups of treated patients.  Typically, nearly 2/3 of patients will be able to avoid surgery with this new approach.  Five-year cure rates for patients with advanced disease remain in the 40-60% range.  There is increasing evidence that combined (concurrent) chemotherapy and radiation may be better treatment than radiation alone.  These combined approaches have substantially increased toxicity and make subsequent surgery for cancer recurrences more difficult. 

        None of the newer treatment approaches have demonstrated improvements.  Therefore, all patients should be informed about the effects of total laryngectomy and the chances of subsequent total laryngectomy if either radiation or radiation and chemotherapy are offered as initial treatment.  The selection of treatment therefore depends on a balance between side effects, experience of the treating physicians, cost and patient desire.  Currently, larynx preservation techniques using chemotherapy and radiation can he offered as alternatives to total laryngectomy if the treatment team has experience with these special techniques or is participating in controlled clinical trials of these approaches. 

        FUTURE DIRECTIONS: This is an exciting time for development of new function-sparing treatments for laryngeal cancers.  Methods are under investigation which hopefully will allow selection of individual patients for specific voice-sparing chemotherapy or radiation based on the genetics of the specific cancer.  Other work is underway to try to modify cancer cells to make them more sensitive to chemo-radiation. 

        As our understanding of tumor cell biology increases, specific effective therapy for disseminated cancer cells will result in significant improvements in overall cure rates.  Until that time, modern practitioners are using the best tools possible to minimize the impact of cancer treatment on quality of life for patients with laryngeal cancer.  Optimal care for any individual patient rests to a large degree on getting the best advice from the multiple physicians involved in the treatment of cancer of the larynx.

        (Dr. Wolf is Professor and Chair of the Otorhinolaryngology Department at the University of Michigan Medical School. He can be reached at:

Flip those Burgers Frequently

        As the outdoor cooking season approaches for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, the ideas contained in an article appearing in Journal of the National Cancer Institute last November might be revisited as we fry or grill an all time favorite; the hamburger. 

        For those who love their burgers medium rare, the health experts continue to warn us about the dangers of contamination of E. coli bacteria from undercooked meat, and recommend we develop a taste for the well done burger instead.  Thorough cooking kills this potentially harmful, and even occasionally lethal, bacteria. However, thorough cooking creates another problem, and that is the formation of cancer-causing heterocyclic amines which develop in the crusty outside of well cooked meat.

        But the article goes on to say that there is a way to thoroughly cook our burgers so that they also contain less of this chemical.  It seems that if the burgers are turned every 60 seconds instead of once or twice during cooking, there is a significant reduction in the heterocyclic amines formed.  Cooking them this way reduces those cancer-causing chemicals by 75-95%, but still achieves the thorough cooking recommended. 

        And, there is an added bonus of turning the burgers every minute, and this is that the cooking time is reduced from an average of 9-16 minutes (depending on the temperature), to 7-8 minutes.  So consider turning those burgers every 60 seconds and cooking them well done.

Paul and Linda Wed

        WW member Paul Daniels married fellow WW member and "significant other" Linda Williams this past December in Seiverville, Tennessee.  Here the groom can be seen in his dressy shorts and sandals shortly after obtaining the marriage license at the courthouse, and just before the ceremony.  The statue is that of native Tennesseean country singer Dolly Parton.

        The temperature was 18 degrees, but Paul remarked, "I had my shorts on so if there was an emergency heat wave coming through I would have been ready.  As you can see, Linda would have burnt up in that coat she had on if we had had a hot spell come through."

        Paul had suffered a cancer recurrence after his laryngectomy, but his most recent MRI was clear.  He remarked, "looks like I might make it to be an old married man after all." 

        Congratulations and best wishes to you both.

        Paul can be reached at and Linda at .

Lary Laughs

by Judy Greiwe 

Welcome New Members 

    We welcome the 10 new members who joined us in March:
Gloria Anderson
Boggstown, IN
Kevin Canan
Athens, OH
 Susan Carames - Caregiver  
West Palm Beach, FL
 Ronald & Jean Gillette 
Charleston, SC
Rose Kahn
Fairview Park, OH
Butch McMahan
Plant City, FL
Gary Miner
Jacksonville, NC
James Rasberry
Tupelo, MS
Bill Smithson
Lansdale, PA
  Steve Walker
Cary, NC 

As a charitable organization, as described in IRS § 501(c)(3), the
WebWhispers Nu-Voice Club
is eligible to receive tax-deductible contributions
 in accordance with IRS § 170.

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