Marching On: Highest Gig Ever

Everest Rocks

My hero and friend* (my designation) Mike Peters of The Alarm has successfully pulled off his goal of establishing a musician-led cancer foundation, called The Love Hope Strength Foundation. The triadic phrase recalls both the essence of religious devotion and the chorus of an Alarm song, the title track to 1985’s “Strength” album. Beginning treatment for leukemia 18 months ago and with a newborn son, Peters imagined surviving the cancer and climbing the Himalayans to celebrate. A new song, “Love, Hope & Strength” was released by the band two months ago and recorded in Nepal 10 days ago by the musicians on the journey. (I can’t insert audio links yet. Oh, to be on myspace!) A lovely tribute to life’s unseen forces.

Part of Mike’s recovery is due to fine Welch doctors, newer treatments (a type of blood transfusion) and his own passion for life. Another key was meeting James Chippendale, a survivor of the same form of cancer from the US who’d built a network of world-class specialist to provide patients seeking hope. James speaks touchingly about the goals of the Foundation — to provide more people with access to life-saving treatments and greater hope for survival. James’ fine production and promotion skills, along with great staff and early, avid supporters, have really moved things forward within a year. Mike, by the way, received his last treatment 2 weeks before the Everest trip.

Events since April’s launch of the Foundation events have included walks up the Empire State Building and Mt. Snowdon in north Wales (highest peak in the UK), plus a sea-level, flat NJ walk-a-thon. Concerts ended each effort and Everest was no different. Yesterday, on their ninth day of hiking, the group of several dozen cancer survivors, MTV producers and musicians ascended to Kala Patthar, Nepal (“Everest Base Camp”) with instruments in hand. (Sherpas of course were invaluable). Guinness Records agrees — with members of Squeeze, Stray Cats and The Fixx joining, Everest rocked! Congrats to everyone. Love-Hope-Strength ’07
High on the Hill

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