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Former Boston Broadcaster Helping Others Quit Smoking After Cancer Diagnosis

November 18, 2013

Peabody, MA - Bob Mehrman, a former broadcaster on Boston TV and Boston radio, smoked for years.  When he finally realized smoking wasn't good for him, he quit.  Two years later he was diagnosed with cancer of the larynx due to smoking.   In 1990 he underwent a laryngectomy, the surgical removal of his voice box and now talks with an electrolarynx, the handheld device that creates vibration that allows him to speak. 

Since then, Mehrman who now lives at Brooksby Village and was a spokesperson for the Massachusetts Tobacco Control Program, has spent years educating others about the dangers of smoking.  He is now helping others quit where he lives at Brooksby Village as the community becomes Smoke Free on January 1, 2014.  
"I smoked for years and quit when I realized it was not healthy for me," said Mehrman.  "It wasn't until two years later that I was diagnosed with cancer of the larynx due to smoking.  Since then, all I have wanted to do was educate others about the dangers of smoking.  And I am beyond excited as Brooksby Village becomes Smoke Free to help others finally quit."
In the early 1950's Mehrman worked in broadcasting at WBZ-TV, WCVB-TV and WHDH-TV.  He also worked at radio stations including WESX-AM in Salem and eventually became the manager of public affairs at WJIB-FM in Boston.  Years later,  Mehrman became executive director of the Massachusetts Broadcasters Association, a position he held for six years. During that time, Mehrman found out he had cancer and in May of 1990 he underwent a laryngectomy. 
Due to connections he had made through his work with the Massachusetts Broadcasters Association, he met the director of the Massachusetts Tobacco Control Program. They thought he would make an excellent spokesperson and to this very day he will go speak to crowds when they need him.
"I spoke to people of all ages about the dangers of smoking," said Mehrman.  "I would visit schools and even starred in a commercial for the American Legacy Foundation that aired during the 2001 Super Bowl."
Mehrman, and a number of others at Brooksby Village, are working with staff and residents to help them quit smoking before the community becomes smoke free on January 1, 2014.  Recently he made a video at Brooksby Village about his history with smoking and cancer. 
"I watched Bob's inspiring video and realized I needed to stop smoking," said Chris Dieter, I.T. Site Coordinator, Brooksby Village.  "My wife and I quit together and it's been four months so far.  I have never felt better." 
Currently, Mehrman serves as president of the Boston Cured Cancer Club for Laryngectomees. He also works with people who have recently undergone laryngectomies, helping them to speak again.  He is also very involved with Brooksby Village's Internal TV studio where he lines up interviews, interviews people on camera, and shares his knowledge of production skills and broadcast skills to the group.
"I have loved getting involved with Brooksby Village's state of the art television studio," said Mehrman.  "This is a fantastic community and to know that my video helped Chris and his wife quit makes me smile."
The Great American Smokeout takes place this year on Thursday, November 21.  The Greentree Café at Brooksby Village will be serving "cold turkey" sandwiches all day to be in line with the Great American Smokeout.
About Brooksby Village: Brooksby Village is one of 16 continuing care retirement communities developed and managed by Erickson Living.   The scenic 90 acre campus is located in Peabody, MA and is home to more than 1,900 residents.  Brooksby Village is a perfect Boston area retirement destination offering a true sense of community, convenience beyond compare and a sensible financial structure.