TEEN CANCER AMERICA
Wow! Roger did such a powerful and passionate presentation yesterday at the National Press Club Luncheon in Washington, DC that it brought tears to my eyes. Much of what he said was as new to me as it was to the audience. For me, Teenage Cancer has always been about raising money through shows and personal donations to buy and run head and body scanners. The emphasis has now shifted.
Two young people I met within minutes of arriving at the event were Sarah Sterner TCA’s first ‘ambassador’, and Hunter Brooks, who is keen to sign up. They both confirmed what Roger was saying. They both had brain tumours, and were brilliantly treated medically speaking and are both on the way to the healthy future. But they each had stories to tell about being treated in paediatric wards (with young children) and how different it could have been had they known each other. Sarah’s funniest story was the fact that one day – for live music – a clown came into the ward and played a ukelele. (That was Eddie Vedder in disguise we think!)
What is clear is that dedicated wards for teenagers from 14 through to 24 or thereabouts should be made available wherever possible. We can’t preach to the USA about its cancer successes. Their statistics are significantly better than ours in the UK. But we now do better caring for our teenagers, and that was Roger’s message last night.
His plea is that the music industry in the USA swings behind this work, doing what we started for Teenage Cancer Trust in the UK with the concerts at the Royal Albert Hall ten years ago. My first donation to Teenage Cancer Trust was in 1996 when Broadway Tommy opened in London to fairly dismissive reviews (read about it in my book, available in all good bookshops, on eBay, Amazon, skips, dumpsters and trashcans all over the world.) Since then Roger has driven the concert series, and raised awareness and money at the same time. He deserves his gong for all this – he is tireless and convincing. I’m glad to be by his side on this.
For those of you coming to the shows, we are in the groove now. Thanks for your support, and I hope you enjoy Roger’s Quadrophenia spectacle. I’m enjoying standing in front of it wondering what the fuck is going on behind me.
Pete Townshend – November 14th 2012