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November 14, 2012

Pete Townshend – On Roger Daltrey and Teen Cancer America


From Pete Townshend’s Tour Diary

14th November, 2012




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

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33 Responses to Pete Townshend – On Roger Daltrey and Teen Cancer America

peter says: November 14, 2012 at 5:43 pm


I watched on C SPAN and saw just how genuinely touched, surprised, inspired etc etc you were !! It was more of a look of complete shock and awe of your partner in crime Roger Daltrey !! You could see his love for others and his obvious love for you Pete !! Carry on as we wait for your show in Beantown !!!

gina b. says: November 14, 2012 at 5:39 pm

You mean those visuals. Would send anyone in a tailspin to turn around, step back and oops.

I have wondered about teenagers and cancer over the years because of The Who and because of Roger’s considerable efforts to raise awareness. It’s a haul of teamwork I can only vaguely imagine. A number of teenage cancers are rare or unique, and so is their circumstance. I was relieved to hear Sarah say she was a Stage 1 cancer survivor. Miraculous are indeed the scanners, the MRI, to have located the source of trouble for both teenagers.

A friend of mine’s new husband’s nephew was an athlete and his story as I had heard it was exactly in the way Roger described and in so moving.

bless you & Roger both and fuck this disease (and I mean everybody fuck this disease).

- gina b.

Rustin Quaide says: November 14, 2012 at 4:35 pm

You did a great show last night-glad I decided to go at the last minute. I liked it better than your ’97 show, but I guess everyone’s a critic (seeing Billy idol at the ’97 show was a nice surprise). Reading your book, but I’m on the elementary school years, so not too far in. Good luck! One of my two rock and roll prayers answered last night (the other involves seeing the Kinks,but who knows if that will ever happen). Also nice to see Mr. Moon singing “Bell Boy” and Mr. Entwhistle doing his magic via whatever time-loop technology was involved.

Sameer says: November 14, 2012 at 4:32 pm

Hi Pete. As a personal friend of Sarah’s, I thank you and Roger for all you’re doing to continue to raise funds and awareness for TCA! Very much looking forward to your show in Detroit on the 24th and hope to meet you one day over tea!

Wil says: November 14, 2012 at 3:08 pm

I’m certainly proud to be a WHO fan and I think that it is must be very rewarding for both Roger and Pete to have established a new, and lasting, facet for the band as tireless public supporters of the Teenage Cancer Trust. I’m looking forward to showing my support at the Detroint show for both the band and for Who Cares: Teen Cancer America.


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