It’s with great sadness that we announce the passing of Phoenix Society for Burn Survivors’ founder, Alan Breslau. Alan passed away on November 26, 2020 surrounded by his loving wife Delwyn and family.
Alan was deeply loved by the burn community - His strong dedication, long term commitment, and unwavering desire to help others made him truly one of a kind.
In Loving Memory
18 March 1926 - 26 November 2020
A unique and very special life
A unique and very special love
His passion and commitment has changed the trajectory
of so many lives leaving behind an invaluable legacy
He will be sadly missed.
LIFE IS NOT FOREVER - LOVE IS
A celebration of Alan’s life was held at St. Andrews (11 Vincent St. Howick) on Saturday, December 5, 2020 at 2 pm - a video of the service is below.
Alan was injured in a plane crash - and upon his discharge from the hospital, he struggled to find support or community. Following a visit to a young boy in a burn center, Alan recognized the importance of peer support for those with burn injuries and was inspired to establish Phoenix Society for Burn Survivors - one of the first burn support organizations in the world.
Phoenix Society was officially founded in 1977, and over the next twenty years, Alan worked tirelessly to develop and expand the burn community. With modest resources, limited staff, and his great passion for helping others, he was able to touch the lives of many.
We are now the leading national nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering people affected by a burn injury. Phoenix Society serves burn survivors, loved ones, burn care professionals, researchers, and anyone else committed to empowering the burn community and building a safer world.
The Breslau Award honors a Phoenix Society member who has, through a collaborative spirit, significantly enhanced the ability of the society to fulfill our mission of peer support, education, and advocacy. Named in honor of Alan and Delwyn’s commitment to the burn community, the Breslau Award is the highest distinction Phoenix Society can bestow.
More recently, the Breslau Society was created to recognize and celebrate those who have included Phoenix Society for Burn Survivors in their wills or estate plans. The Breslau Society is named after Alan - honoring a lifetime dedicated to uniting the voice of the burn community.
An incredible man who has had an amazing life
Such a privilege it was to be your wife
A few little insights you may be interested to hear
Most of which that I know, I will always hold dear
He had fun writing poetry - and to me taught the same
I hope to now do his teaching credit - to honor his name
He taught me so much and I was eager to learn
The secret of his magic, ‘Is it due to his burn?’
All of a sudden - in a strange twist of fate
An aero plane crash - ‘63 was the date
His life changed in an instant, with the cruel ravages of fire
No idea then to be a global hero - you’d aspire
The pain and suffering he endured must have been out of sight
But he coped with it all with incredible might
He lost the top of his head, ear, eye and nose
A few fingers too but kept all of his toes
‘The Time of My Death’ was the first book he wrote
Resulting in a suggestion, by a surgeon of note
The Phoenix Society was born - burn survivors were wowed!
Now, with staff and resources which made him feel proud
Of media interviews, simply hundreds he's done
Radio, newspapers and television
He testified vehemently before the United States Senate
Manufacturing a fire safe cigarette, was his thrusting tenet
The Hidden Burn Syndrome was one of his discoveries
Which relieved so much guilt - in numerous recoveries
The Phoenix World Burn Congress now an international event
T’was to the very first one in Philly, ’88 that I went
We had so much in common and so many letters he did send
Five years later - how could I not marry, my very best friend?!
Lots of fundraising, burn camps and scheduling meetings
Congresses too - where there’s heaps of warm greetings
‘An atomic explosion of happiness’ they have since been described
No wonder people keep coming, after just once they’ve ‘imbibed’
His optimistic credo - to make the VERY best of your life
No matter what you are dealt, or whatever the strife
“YOU ARE ALIVE! BE HAPPY! IRRESPECTIVE OF LOOKS!”
Has held him so high, in everyone’s books
He was ALWAYS there for survivor fears to allay
There were times during the night when the phone would ring sometimes, even around two
From a dead sleep, his cheery voice saying “Good morning Phoenix Society - how CAN we help you?
He has changed the trajectory of so many lives
His philosophies and credos, proving ever so wise
His inspiration and spirit and true dedication
Soothing so many souls (and without medication!)
His love of Coke was ALWAYS a worry for me
But, hey, maybe that was the secret to his longevity!
Pancakes always got his day off, to a really great start
Always made for him especially, in the shape of a heart
From his father he inherited his amazing musical gift
A quick tune on the piano, always gave one’s spirits a lift
Having previously had his own orchestral band
Still playing since the crash with only one hand
Of prestigious awards, he has garnered so much
Lifetime achievements, awards, medals and such
Alan Breslau to me, you were such an incredible man
It has been such an honor to compose this, as your biggest fan
But the time has now come, to end this tribute to his life
Composed with much love, by his adoring wife
The Phoenix Society has proven to be more precious than gold -
To those survivors who now have new lives - yet to unfold
To know that his legacy will now live on forever
His life’s work truly was an incredible endeavor
On behalf of us all my love, we thank you from the bottom of all our hearts.
We love you Alan.