In 1984 my then 8 year old son, Brendon, sustained burns to 40% of his body in an explosion.
This personal experience made it obvious to me that some type of support organisation was desperately needed for burn survivors and their families.
Not only were they suffering intense physical pain, but sometimes also the loss of a home or family member and possibly also having to undergo a dramatic change in body or facial image, which can be a major psychological trauma in itself.
It became my passion to alleviate as much suffering as I possibly could for these burn survivors and their families, so subsequently:
Established the BURN SUPPORT GROUP CHARITABLE TRUST in Auckland in 1987.
Established the first children’s burn camp in NZ, (which is still held annually by the BSGCT.)
Served on both Middlemore and the Auckland Hospital Schools Board of Trustees.
Became an Active member of COVAC (Co-ordinators of Volunteers of Auckland), Safe Kids and FINZ(Fundraising Institute of NZ) 1982 – 1990.
Assisted by a substantial grant from ACC, established a national organisation of 21 other groups and contacts around New Zealand eventually becoming its national executive director.
Invited to be a member of the National Task Force for ACC’s NZ wide Thermal Injury Programme in 1990.
Established the first skin bank in NZ and fundraised for numerous items of hospital and surgical equipment for the Plastic Surgery Centre at Middlemore Hospital (now the National Burn Centre).
Bi-annually attended many World Burn Congresses and American Burn Association conferences being a Special Member, Invited Speaker and exhibitor at several.
Accompanied a study/lecture tour of China with the Phoenix Society, 1992.
Received 15 national and international awards and medals including one from Queen Elizabeth 11 in 1990.
Alan and Pheonix Society
Upon marrying Alan Breslau, burn survivor and executive director of the Phoenix Society for Burn Survivors, in 1993, emigrated to the United States becoming its associate director. In this capacity established the first summer camp for burned children in Pennsylvania, Camp Susquehanna, co-ordinating and co-directing it for ten years.
During 20 years of involvement with the burn community, gave over 350 public presentations and numerous television, radio and media interviews throughout the U.S., Australia, China and NZ.
Alan and I retired from our directorships of the Phoenix Society in 1997. The society subsequently established an award in our honour which (in grateful appreciation to the BSGCT and the Phoenix Society) we have been able to present each year on the Banquet night at the annual World Burn Congress.
The Alan and Delwyn Breslau Award is the highest distinction the Phoenix Society can bestow. The award honours: “A Phoenix Society member who has, through a collaborative spirit, significantly enhanced the ability of the Phoenix Society to fulfil its mission of peer support, education, collaboration and advocacy. By virtue of their character, integrity and service provided to those impacted by a burn injury, this person has significantly enhanced the Phoenix Society and the burn community.”
We emigrated to New Zealand in 2003, at which time it was an honour to accept the invitation to become patrons of the Trust.