LOS ANGELES (CBS) — Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend provided a voice for a generation as the frontmen of the British rock band The Who, but Friday they threw their support behind a whole new generation by inaugurating a cancer center for teens and young adults at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center.
Modeled after the Teenage Cancer Trust in the United Kingdom, the Daltrey/Townshend Teen & Young Adult Cancer Program will provide medical care and emotional support to young patients coping with a cancer diagnosis.
“At a time when your body is changing, your social life is everything and you’re still trying to figure out who you are, getting cancer can seem like an impossible blow to take,” Daltrey said.
According to UCLA officials, teens and young adults diagnosed with cancer are often treated in either pediatric units or adult oncology units populated primarily with elderly patients. The Teen & Young Adult Cancer Program will allow younger patients to be treated in a common area, with adjoining rooms and a shared lounge that will foster a supportive environment among the teens and young adults being treated.
The center is the first of its type in the nation, according to UCLA.
“We feel confident that this historic partnership and the launch of the first Daltrey/Townshend Teen & Young Adult Cancer Program in America will establish a more truly healing environment for our adolescent patients and set
the stage for an expansion of the program to medical institutions across the United States,” said Dr. David Feinberg, chief executive officer of the UCLA Health System.
Feinberg said he is already working to expand the program to the Santa Monica-UCLA Medical Center and Orthopaedic Hospital.
The Teenage Cancer Trust program in the U.K. has helped fund 19 teen cancer units.
The Daltrey/Townshend center will be supported financially by Who Cares, a fundraising initiative for fans of The Who. According to UCLA, the Who Cares effort has raised millions of dollars through concerts and other events.
Also, a portion of ticket sales from Daltrey’s “Tommy” tour in the United States and Canada will be donated to the UCLA center.
“We believe that teenagers have a much better chance in their fight against cancer if they are treated by experts specializing in their care in a compassionate environment tailored to their needs,” Daltrey said. “I hope that our fans will really get behind Who Cares and do their bit to make a difference to young people living with cancer.”
Also lending support to the UCLA program today was former Led Zeppelin lead singer Robert Plant.
“We hope to bring the success of the Teenage Cancer Trust program in the U.K. to this inaugural program at UCLA,” Plant said. “The caring and support the program provides have made a huge difference in the lives of many
teens and young adults who are battling cancer.”