“The psychological benefit of putting teenagers with teenagers rather than 4-year-old children or geriatrics is enormous,” Daltrey told the NewsHour. “One of the patients that I’m friends with is recovering from a brain tumor at the age of 15, and he was greeted by clowns with ukuleles and spoons, and a screaming 4-year-old in the next room. That’s not very conducive to healing.”
Between gigs for the past quarter-century, Daltrey has been helping Britain’s Teenage Cancer Trust raise funds and awareness for more than 20 teen cancer centers, mostly in the UK. It’s his way of repaying the demographic that made him famous: “Our whole business was founded on the backs of teenagers.” But beyond that, he said, “It’s a bloody good investment.”
When hospitals provide the space, it costs about a million dollars to equip the centers and another million to keep them running for two years, Daltrey said. “This side of it — environment — is relatively cheap,” he said. “But by doing that, the psychological benefit, we reckon, is about 15 percent addition to the benefit of the medicine.” In November, Daltrey announced his first expansion of the program into the United States: the Daltrey/Townshend Teen & Young Adult Cancer Program at UCLA.
To read about the program and listen to the PBS NewsHour’s full interview with Daltrey, CLICK HERE.