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The Teenage Cancer Trust shows at 20

Jane Ashton, head of music and entertainment for Teenage Cancer Trust, explains the importance of music in its work, and looks ahead to 2020

27 Mar 2019

Jane Ashton, Teenage Cancer Trust

Music plays such an important role in young people’s lives and is part of the DNA of Teenage Cancer Trust, so we are honoured to be ILMC’s charity partner in the year 2020.

Teenage Cancer Trust relies solely on donations, and on behalf of the organisation, I am so grateful for the incredible support given to us over many years from the music industry. It’s helped to ensure that no young person or their family faces cancer alone, and that they are provided with specialist nursing and emotional support throughout their treatment and beyond.

2020 is set to be a big year for Teenage Cancer Trust. Not only will the charity be turning 30 years old, but it also marks our 20th annual concert series at London’s iconic Royal Albert Hall, where the world’s biggest names in music and comedy come together, raising money to help young people facing the chaos of cancer.

Conceived in 2000 and curated by the charity’s honorary patron, Roger Daltrey CBE, legendary frontman of The Who, these annual shows have grown into an iconic week-long series of gigs and are the charity’s flagship event. They are a highlight of the music industry calendar and have featured some of the world’s leading music and comedy acts.

The Who actually played the first ever Teenage Cancer Trust show at the Royal Albert Hall back in 2000 as ‘The Who and Friends,’ and we have an extraordinary legacy that has seen unique, once-in-a-lifetime performances like Noel Gallagher and Damon Albarn performing together for the first time ever in 2013, Sir Paul McCartney in 2012, plus everyone from Muse to The Cure, Ed Sheeran to Tinie Tempah, Olly Murs, Florence + The Machine, Kasabian, Stereophonics, Paul Weller, Eric Clapton, Robert Plant, Sir Tom Jones and many more. And, of course, some of the greatest concerts of the past 20 years from The Who.

The shows have also played host to the cream of British comedy including Ricky Gervais, Little Britain, James Corden, Steve Coogan, Peter Kay, Jimmy Carr, Jason Manford, John Bishop, Kevin Bridges, Russell Howard, Rhod Gilbert and Russell Brand.

Curated by the charity’s honorary patron, Roger Daltrey, these annual shows have grown into an iconic week-long series of gigs…

These incredible shows have raised over £29 million for Teenage Cancer Trust and played a vital role in helping the charity provide 28 specialist cancer units and over 60 nursing and support staff in NHS hospitals across the UK, making an incredible difference to young people diagnosed with cancer.

Teenage Cancer Trust’s units (hospital wards) certainly don’t look or feel like normal wards, instead they’re designed by young people for young people with vibrant colours, music, pool tables, fun activities and Wi-Fi access. These may sound like small things to some but they help enormously to maintain a sense of normality amongst the disruption of cancer.

Around seven young people aged between 13 and 24 are diagnosed with cancer every day in the UK and need expert treatment and specialist support from the moment they hear the word ‘cancer.’ Having cancer is tough at any age but as a young person it brings unique challenges. The psychological, social and emotional impact of cancer on young people is enormous. Imagine, just as life is taking off, cancer shatters everything – your confidence, self-esteem, education, work prospects, hopes and future.

Combining treatment with school, friendships and all the usual challenges of this turbulent time of life means it’s even more important to be treated as an individual, not a diagnosis. Teenage Cancer Trust is the only charity dedicated to ensuring no young person risks facing cancer isolated and alone. Its expert team of specialist nurses and youth support co-ordinators work hard to ensure that the emotional and physical needs of young people and their families are met throughout the entire journey.

With the incredible support of the music industry and our supporters, we’ve been able to continue and grow our work. This support also allows us to bring more young people together to be treated by experts in teenage and young adult cancer, in an environment designed just for them. A heartfelt thank you from us all – we couldn’t do it without you!


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