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Meet Simon Davies of Teen Cancer America in West LA

Today we’d like to introduce you to Simon Davies.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Simon. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
Teen Cancer America was founded by Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend of the legendary rock band The Who in 2012. I came over from the UK in 2013 to lead the charity as Executive Director, having run the band’s other charity Teenage Cancer Trust. Our mission is to deliver specialist programs and facilities for teenagers and young adults with cancer in hospitals throughout America. We are needed because teens and young adults have not been well catered for in either pediatric health care (average age six) or adult health care (average sixty). This is a group that gets some of the rarest and most difficult to treat cancers, at a uniquely challenging time in their lives. The need specialist environments, teams, treatments, and research. To date, their outcomes and survival has not matched either younger or older people. By providing our services, we aim to improve those outcomes and survival. In just seven years, we have raised over $20 million, forged 42 hospital partnerships and improved the lives of almost 17,000 young people throughout America.

Has it been a smooth road?
Our biggest challenge has been to win the hearts and minds of the American health care establishment leadership. Many hospitals have been reluctant to change and lacked the knowledge and expertise to do so. It is a testament to our forbearance and determination that we have won over so many hospitals. When we began, we had to make all the running. Now a week does not go by without a hospital contacting us and asking for our help. Right now, we are riding the crest of a wave and we aim to make these specialist cancer services for young people mainstream. However, these are incredibly challenging times for raising funds and we need all the help we can get. I hope readers will consider donating via our website.

We’d love to hear more about your organization.
We provide an expert consultancy to hospitals advising them on strategy and business planning. We educate and support their teams and their leadership. When they are ready, they are eligible to apply for a grant from us to pay for staffing and facilities. We provide continuous support. We also have interior design expertise and advise on the development of teen zones that specifically meet their needs. They are state of the art, with the latest technology and environmental form. We provide support directly to young people with cancer through a well-developed music education program; a drag queen led make-up sessions; health and wellness programs; magic and other entertainment evenings. We run professional education webinars and conferences to enhance professional expertise in this field. We undertake specific, targeted research.

Let’s touch on your thoughts about our city – what do you like the most and least?
LA is possibly the most creative city on earth. It encourages entrepreneurialism and has a zeitgeist that sets it apart. Anyone can come to this city with a new idea and work hard to achieve their dream. LA needs to work harder to become a fully integrated multi-cultural city. Communities are unnecessarily divided and we need to see a greater effort to make it a truly egalitarian and equitable city for all.

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Image Credit:

Craig Weston and Tanya Barcessat @craigwestonphotography @tanyabarcessat_, Will Snyder, Michelle Meyer

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