Rock band uses shows to boost bone marrow donor registry

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A rock band are using their shows to encourage fans to become bone marrow donors.

While many artists make so-called "rider" requests for their dressing rooms to be laden with Persian rugs or Versace towels - Welsh rockers The Alarm have a simple ask, to allow for a swabbing station at the back of the concert hall.

This means that fans can join a bone marrow donor registry with a simple cheek swab.

Singer Mike Peters, who has battled cancer three times, co-founded the Love Hope Strength Foundation in 2007 with the aim to "save lives, one concert at a time".

The band is currently on tour, with a show at the Electric Ballroom in Camden, London, on Saturday, and is planning one of its donor drives at the gig.

The LHS Foundation hosts donor drives at concerts and festivals around the world by encouraging music fans aged 18 to 55 to sign up to the International Bone Marrow Registry.

So far, their work has encouraged more than 150,000 music fans to join the registry, and found more than 3,100 potentially-lifesaving matches for blood cancer patients.

Anton Lockwood of DHP Family, the concert promoter putting on the show on Saturday, said: "Well we've all heard about outrageous or plain silly rider requests, ranging from gargantuan quantities of booze to bowls of Smarties with all the blue ones taken out.

"The Alarm might have just taken the prize for the most unusual, but also one of the most important rider requests.

"We're well aware that the band themselves have been affected by cancer, as have many of their fans and friends and family of us here at DHP - we can only welcome artists using their potential to bring people together in such a positive and supportive way."

Peters, 58, from Dyserth, North Wales, told the Press Association: "It's humbling to see how many people have responded to the Get On The List campaign so far."

When asked how he feels about the prospect of being a potential recipient one day, the father-of-two added: "It's a daunting prospect.

"I have been lucky so far in that I have always managed to stay one step ahead of the procedure.

"It's almost caught up with me on many occasions and I've seen a lot of my contemporaries who have carried the same diagnosis as me, lost to the disease. I'm a very lucky man."

The Welsh musician was first diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma in 1995.

Since then he has also battled leukaemia twice.

Peters and his wife Jules Jones Peters have both endured public battles with cancer, with Mrs Jones Peters being diagnosed with breast cancer last year.

The 50-year-old, who manages The Alarm and looks after Love Hope Strength in the UK, said: "I was shocked and stunned and the last 10 months have been a brutal journey but one that I have come through stronger, wiser and with more desire for life than ever before."

The couple, who are to feature in a documentary about their lives and battles with cancer, are also taking part in a 130-mile charity walk around North Wales next month.

Blood cancer charity DKMS has worked with the LHS Foundation since 2013.

Joe Hallett, senior donor recruitment manager at the charity, said: "Only one in three people with a blood cancer in the UK and in need of a life-saving blood stem cell transplant will be lucky enough to find a suitable match within their own family.

"Finding a match from a genetically similar person can offer the best treatment, a second chance of life."

:: Mike and Jules Peters are to be featured in a BBC Wales documentary - Mike and Jules: While We Still Have Time - which is to be broadcast on Monday. A separate film, Man In The Camo Jacket, a documentary film of Peters' rise to fame and battle with cancer, premiers in July.