British rock legend Roger Daltrey says the improvement made to the lives of young cancer patients through the Teenage Cancer Trust is “incredible”.
The Who frontman is a long-term honorary patron of the charity and brought proceedings to a close on Wednesday at its ninth international conference in Edinburgh.
The event saw more than 350 healthcare professionals from across the world discuss new approaches to treatments, future research and advancements in the care of young cancer patients.
It included the inaugural global adolescent and young adult cancer congress, bringing together young patients from the US and Australia to share their experiences.
The event was opened by Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon on Tuesday with a £2.5 million funding pledge to improve cancer care for children and young people in Scotland while Sarah the Duchess of York addressed a gala dinner that evening.
Daltrey said: “The conference is being used to discuss future progress in treatments and cures - and sometimes you get a lot of really good ideas that make a big difference to the age group that we serve.
“Previous to Teenage Cancer Trust, teenagers were put in hospital wards with two-year-old children and at the age of 18 they were put in with adults and other geriatrics like me.
“It’s not good for the teenagers, not good for me and not good for the children, so it was a lose-lose situation which has been transformed by this charity into a win-win one.
“It puts teenagers together with the best kind of therapists for teenagers with cancer and they can help each other through it. The improvement that is made to their lives is incredible.”
The Who will be joined by Pet Shop Boys, Olly Murs, Paul Weller and Scottish comedian Kevin Bridges for a series of special fundraising concerts for the charity at London’s Royal Albert Hall in 2017.
The group will perform on two nights, with the first marking the 100th show performed at the venue for the charity.
Siobhan Dunn, chief executive at Teenage Cancer Trust, said: “Our honorary patrons Roger Daltrey and Sarah Duchess of York are extraordinary.
“We are literally the luckiest charity in the world. You could not have two more committed patrons and it’s a tremendous honour to work with them both.
“The first time I went to a Teenage Cancer Trust unit it felt like the scene in The Wizard of Oz where they go from black and white to technicolor.
“I went through a ward and a door, and I was greeted with overwhelming laughter. Young people were just hanging about and there were lots of pizzas actually - there was a pizza party happening.
“There was such a sense of positivity and almost joy that these young people had the support of other young people, and I feel extremely privileged to be a part of it.”
200 young people in Scotland are diagnosed with cancer every year and the charity currently needs to raise £20 million every year by 2020 to maintain its services.