The Who's Roger Dal­trey vis­its teenage cancer pa­tients

Kuwait Times - - LIFESTYLE -

Roger Dal­trey's voice may not soar as it once did. But even af­ter 50 years of tour­ing he hasn't lost his teenage spirit. The Hall of Fame rocker, who has been an ad­vo­cate for teen cancer pa­tients for nearly three decades, vis­ited with chil­dren, young adults and their fam­i­lies at Rain­bow Ba­bies Hos­pi­tal on Mon­day. The Who's front man toured the Angie Fowler Ado­les­cent & Young Adult Cancer In­sti­tute, which was founded in 2012 to bet­ter serve young pa­tients while they un­dergo cancer treat­ments and fol­low­ing their re­lease.

"Teenagers for so long have been over­looked," said the 73year-old, still on the road with long­time band­mate Pete Town­shend. "Not nearly enough has been done for them." For years, teenage cancer pa­tients were hos­pi­tal­ized on pe­di­atric floors or placed with older pa­tients. Af­ter con­sult­ing with doc­tors re­search­ing treat­ments and re­cov­ery, Dal­trey un­der­stood the need for teens to have a place of their own, where they could re­cover in sur­round­ings more suited to their in­ter­ests and ma­tu­rity level. "The light went on in my head with this one," said Dal­trey, who first got in­volved with the Teenage Cancer Trust in 1989. "I was in the Who when I was 18 years old and with­out the sup­port of this age group - ado­les­cents and young adults - our busi­ness wouldn't be there. The mu­sic busi­ness is built mostly with this age group. It's an easy way for me to say, 'Thank you.'"

Dur­ing his visit, Dal­trey, whose iconic voice helped make Who songs such as "My Gen­er­a­tion," "Be­hind Blue Eyes" and "Won't Get Fooled Again" an­thems for gen­er­a­tions of fans, spent time with young cancer pa­tients who have ben­e­fited from their time in fa­cil­i­ties like the one at Rain­bow Ba­bies Hos­pi­tal. Dal­trey quickly con­nected with sev­eral of the teens, who ea­gerly shared sto­ries of be­ing di­ag­nosed and lengthy hos­pi­tal stays. He had a warm word, hug or hand­shake for each of them and was happy to pose for pho­tos. For Adam Kirk, Dal­trey's visit was a chance to meet a rock hero. The 40year-old's daugh­ter, Sawyer, has been fight­ing leukemia for months and Dal­trey's face lit up when he saw the 11/2-yearold be­ing car­ried to­ward him. Kirk came pre­pared for his meet­ing, get­ting Dal­trey to sign a well-worn copy of "Who's Next," regarded as the band's sig­na­ture al­bum.

As he made his way around an out­door, rooftop gar­den, Dal­trey was ap­proached by an­other dad who wanted to show his ap­pre­ci­a­tion for the singer's char­i­ta­ble work. Tyson Stiles pre­sented Dal­trey with a mu­si­cal gift. While his son, Ryver, spent nearly 300 days in the hos­pi­tal af­ter be­ing born pre­ma­turely, Stiles recorded a short al­bum that in­cluded songs he wrote about his son's or­deal. "I wanted you to have a copy," Stiles said. "Is it any good?" Dal­trey asked. "No, it's ter­ri­ble," Stiles quipped as both men laughed. Later, Dal­trey do­nated a gui­tar signed by him and Town­shend that will be per­ma­nently dis­played in the Fowler In­sti­tute's in-pa­tient unit. Dal­trey also shared mem­o­ries of his pre­vi­ous vis­its to Cleve­land. He and the Who first came to town in 1967. "It's a lot dif­fer­ent than it used to be," he said. "It was the dirt­i­est place I'd ever been to in my life. Ev­ery­thing was cov­ered in soot. But Cleve­land au­di­ences were some of the best we ever played for."

Roger Dal­trey, lead singer for the English rock band The Who, left, poses with Adam Kirk and his daugh­ter Sawyer McGhee, a cancer pa­tient, in Cleve­land, Ohio, on Mon­day. — AP pho­tos

Roger Dal­trey signs a ukulele for a cancer pa­tient dur­ing a visit to a hos­pi­tal in Cleve­land, Ohio.

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