JAY L. CLENDENIN Los Angeles Times
BY KAVITA DASWANI ROGER DALTREY is on a mission.
British rocker Roger Daltrey could have chosen any cause for his dollars and energy. But
the co-founder and lead singer of the Who, alongside band mate Pete Townshend, is
championing the emotional well-being of teens diagnosed with cancer. Specifically: Set-
ting up teen—centered units in hospitals, complete with flat-screen TVs, Video games, a
“chill out zone,” digital jukebox, pool tables and computer—equipped study
lounges. ‘II' “It’s well-documented that the chance of survival for a psychologically con-
tented and relatively happy patient is much better than for someone who is miserable
and lonely,” Daltrey said. Through Daltrey’s work with Teen Cancer America — modeled
after the U.K.’s Teenage Cancer Trust — there are now centers in seven US. hospitals,
including UCLA and one in development in Stanford. Another six are projected to open
later this year. A group of Teen Cancer America supporters, aiming to raise $45,000, will
take part in the LA. Marathon on March 19.
Why this cause? children. Much harder to raise it for teens.
I see the simplicity of it. In the medical
system, there are either children or adult s. What are the centers like?
And anyone who has had any dealings with They are very cool. Our architects work
kids will know that when they turn into with the teenagers directly. They’ve got the
teenagers, it’s a totally different kettle of big screen TV with everything, but they
fish. Teens with cancer were also going also like the quiet spaces where they can
through the emotional trauma of being put keep their education up. And everything is
with children, or even in the geriatric ward. always open, 24 hours a day.
They can unload their problems with
What’s the strategy? someone else who has been diagnosed, or
Initially, to get into some of the most going through treatments. They get the
prestigious hospitals in America. It took us support of one another and it’s enor-
two years to get a foot in the door at Memo- mously helpful to recovery. You put these
rial Sloan Kettering [Cancer Center in New teens together, and it becomes a happier
York City] but we have a fabulous space in place to be.
there now. Once the hospitals see the
difference this makes in the treat ment of Do you feel some sort of connection with
this group, more are coming onboard. We that age group given that you’re in the
want to be in every hospital in the country. music business?
Huge sections of the economy are
Why has it been a challenge getting it off aimed at this group. Our business is noth-
the ground? ing without the support of teens. They are
We thought it would be relatively easy our foundation. They built the music busi-
over here. This is a benevolent, altruistic ness. We have to ’fess up and say they’re
country. We’ve got 70 hospitals in the US. under-served. The more we look after this
that want to work with us, but the fight to age group, the better our future will be.
get funding is proving more difﬁcult than
we thought. It’s easy to raise money for firstname.lastname@example.org