This article was originally published by Forbes.com. Written by Jim Clash.
Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame crooner Roger Daltrey has re-recorded the 1980 hit song “Let My Love Open The Door” as part of a Teen Cancer America/First Citizens Bank [partnership] to raise money and awareness for young adults with cancer. Radio and television commercials featuring the tune will begin airing in the southeastern U.S. on Thanksgiving weekend.
Daltrey, sidelined by viral meningitis from The Who’s 50th anniversary tour in September and now recovering, was in the studio earlier this month recording the song. “On behalf of Pete Townshend and Teen Cancer America, I’d like to thank First Citizens for the support the bank is giving us to achieve our goal — supplying hospital spaces for adolescents and young adults with cancer,” Daltrey, 71, said. “In the [United] States, 30 young people a day are diagnosed with cancer, and they’re either put in a hospital with children or with older people. But we’re fixing that. With First Citizens’ assistance, we can bridge the gap and create places for treatment where they can be young people first – and cancer patients second.”
First Citizens, America’s largest family-held bank (assets: $30 billion), says it will make a “significant contribution” to open teen cancer centers in the southeast, the bank’s primary business market. The effort will be promoted to the bank’s entire 18-state network. Teen Cancer America is currently in talks with more than 50 U.S. hospitals, 20 of them in the southeast, including four major ones within the Carolinas.
Jeff Ward, chief strategy officer at First Citizens, had dinner with Daltrey awhile back, which got the initial ball rolling. “I think the real outcome is what happens in the communities when we start working with hospitals to help bring cancer units into their space,” said Ward.
Teen Cancer America was founded in 2012 as the rock stars’ first effort across the pond. Four U.S. teen centers have launched so far, including one at UCLA Medical. Initial funding came from a California fundraiser featuring Daltrey, Robert Plant and Dave Grohl. Later, Daltrey and Elvis Costello raised $1 million at a Madison Square Garden concert in New York for Memorial Sloan Kettering. The MSK teen center is scheduled to open this winter.
“It just makes sense that if we, as a society, feel it’s right for children to go to kids’ hospitals with teddy bears and nurseries, and adults have hospital lounges where they can socially interact, teens should have somewhere, too,” said Daltrey. “But there’s basically nothing in the American system. They either are dumped in with children or with adults.”
Townshend, who wrote “Let My Love Open The Door,” is proud of the new version of his song. The guitarist and band-mate Daltrey have been partners against teen cancer for nearly two decades via the United Kingdom’s Teen Cancer Trust, raising in excess of $150 million.
“Cancer for teens is particularly brutal,” Daltrey said. “I remember that period myself as being upside down and sideways, with huge emotional shifts and isolation, not quite fitting in here, there and everywhere. It’s an incredibly difficult period in everybody’s life. I was lucky to get into a profession where the backbone was totally that generation. Without adolescents and teenagers, the music business as we know it would not exist.”
As for the teens with cancer, Daltrey gives them high praise. “They’re fantastic, truly remarkable considering the circumstances. You’ve got to remember that children with cancer, although they may suffer terribly, don’t really understand what they’ve got. A teenager knows what horrors can come to them. So every way around, it’s tough for that age group.”
(Editor’s Note: To see the new television commercial featuring “Let My Love Open The Door” and video documentary of Roger Daltrey in the studio, click WWW.LetMyLoveOpenTheDoor.com).