Roger Daltrey’s assault on America has little to do with his musical endeavors with fellow Who bandmate Pete Townshend but all to do with Teenage Cancer Trust, a cause that, Daltrey says, “I’ve worked at in a serious way for the past 10 years, but I’ve been involved with from its beginning.”
Daltrey looks to the next frontier for TCT, which is America: “I’m here trying to sign people up, get a committee together, bring in the right medical partners. We have the model from the U.K., but we know the medical system in America is completely different, so we’re starting from scratch. Luckily we have great people like Eddie Vedder onboard already, so we are well under way.”
Tracking back to TCT’s early days, Daltrey says he stepped up to the challenge of mounting an annual program of six days of music at the Royal Albert Hall in London and serving as a celebrity spokesperson for the trust 10 years ago because “I wanted to focus on one cause where I could become very hands-on. I was conscious that I wanted to focus on one charity and then do well for that one cause.”
Daltrey knows the power of the profile his rock-star fame provides the trust. “There are hundreds of worthy charities, but having a celebrity who talks about a charity means that’s the one who gets their name in the papers, which results in the support they so desperately need.”
The singer also reflects on the connection between the trust’s mission to his own life history. “Without teenagers, there’s no Who. Maybe that’s the start of this connection. And what the trust does for teenage cancer patients is astounding. We’ve seen that by just providing a teen-friendly environment. There have been cases of 15% improvement on applications of the very same drug, just because these units are filled with other teens. When you’re a teen, the last thing you want is isolation. The camaraderie TCT provides is where the change begins, and I’ve seen this charity change lives forever.”
Diagnosed with leukemia, rapper Prince Aidoo had been in remission for four years when he experienced a relapse two months before his 18th birthday. “I was very negative from an emotional standpoint,” says Aidoo, who lives in London.
The Teenage Cancer Trust placed him in a private ward “where I could connect with kids who were going through the same things as me,” he says.
Aidoo received a bone-marrow transplant two years ago and has been in remission ever since. Today, he does fund-raising for the trust.
— Justin Kroll