When you’re a child you look up to your grandparents; they are great for confiding in when there is something you don’t want to tell your parents.
When they pass on all you have are those memories and there is nothing more heart-breaking than forgetting your beloved grandparents’ voice.
One grandfather has taken action and ensured his grandkids will always remember his voice. Tony Plant, a former bricklayer and proud grandfather, has motor neurone disease. This is the same disease Stephen Hawking has.
Eventually, Plant will lose his ability to speak completely, and like Hawking will use a computer to generate his voice and speak to his family.
However, Plant wants his grandkids to remember his real voice, not the robotic, computer-generated version. The 62-year-old has taken action and recorded more than 1200 sentences to respond to loved ones with. When he communicates the words he has recorded, the computer will speak them in his own voice.
Plant has two young granddaughters, two-year-old Charlotte and three-year-old Chloe who he hopes to communicate with as they get older.
Plant spoke to Metro about his decision to build up his voice responses, “They will be able to recognise it as grandad’s voice and not just a robotic voice or a stranger’s voice.” he said. “The important thing for me is that it will make a huge difference to me in the future when my voice has gone and I can’t get it back.”
Motor neuron disease is a debilitating disease that is more common in men than women. The disease affects a person’s ability to walk, talk, eat, drink and breathe. In some cases, sufferers can even experience personality and behavioural changes.
This disease affects everyone differently and can progress at different speeds. Unfortunately, there is no cure for the muscle wasting condition. Most people with the disease only live three to five years after their initial diagnosis.
Tony began to pick up on some symptoms four years ago when his speech became slurred, he became extremely uncoordinated and found it impossible to multitask. Tony now uses a wheelchair but doesn’t stop doing what he loves. He still does some fly fishing and has disco lights on his chair so he can safely make it to the pub!
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