25th Jun, 2022

Cancer patient can speak to daughter again with help of app

Felix Nobes 24th Oct, 2018

A CANCER patient who had his voice box removed will be able to speak to his daughter again with the help of a revolutionary app.

Craig Robinson, 34, was diagnosed with extensive tongue and throat cancer in April last year.

In July, the father of one had his larynx removed to prevent the cancer from spreading any further.

He received specialist treatment from Macmillan professionals at University Hospital Coventry and Warwickshire.

Before the operation took place, Macmillan speech and language therapist, Alison Smith, explained that Craig would be unable to speak or smell after the procedure and would have difficulty eating and drinking.

Alison, whose role is funded by Macmillan Cancer Support, set up Craig with access to a voice recording software company in America called ModelTalker.

The software enables Craig to communicate via an app called Predictable on his mobile.

Instead of the voice being the usual synthesised voice you would expect, Craig was able to record his own voice before his voice box was removed.

Craig said: “I have a four-year-old daughter and I wanted her to know and remember what my voice sounds like.

“Before the surgery, I had to record over 1,400 phrases to be able to use post operation.

“It was a strange but great feeling to hear my voice for the first time. Just being able to have my own voice on the app is amazing.

“I want to say thank you to everyone who has made this possible.

“I take each day as it comes now knowing things will get better.

“I’d definitely recommend this to anyone else who finds themselves in a similar position.”

Ms Smith said: “Unfortunately, due to the extent of the surgery, we were unable to use the usual speech options for Craig and so we had to think outside of the box to support his communication.

“Thanks to a grant from Macmillan, we were able to fund Craig to access the software to record his own voice and keep his sense of identity which is so much more personal than a synthesised robotic voice.”

To find out more about Macmillan services in your area, please visit www.macmillan.org.uk

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