One Step Beyond
Ep. 27: Love Hope Strength with Mike Peters
Mike Peters is the rare rock star to have an MBE after his name - awarded not for his musical successes with Welsh rock band The Alarm, considerable though they have been, but for his charity work with the Love Hope Strength foundation.
That story starts In 1995 when, on the eve of an American tour, Peters was informed that he had Non Hodgkin's Lymphona, or cancer of the blood cells; deciding to push on through the tour, cloak himself in a fighting attitude, and turn down a bone marrow transplant, Peters' disease appeared to right itself, only to return in 2005 as leukemia. Rather than bemoan his bad luck, Peters instead recognized the enormous good fortune of having quality free cancer care on the National Health Service in a world where there is so much health inequality, and in 2007 he co-founded Love Hope Strength, with the belief that "all people deserve quality care, a marrow donor if needed, and most importantly, hope."
Since then, Peters, with partner James Chippendale, another leukemia survivor, has hosted concerts on top of Mt Everest Base Camp, Mt Kilimanjaro and Mt Fuji, established the 'Get On The List' drive at concerts to sign up potential bone marrow donors, and recorded the world's longest song, The Scriptures, to promote bone marrow donor initiatives between Israelis and Palestinians. Money raised has served to fund a mammography machine in Nepal, build a Children’s Cancer Unit in Tanzania, and to fund cancer projects within the UK.
Mike Peters first met One Step Beyond host Tony Fletcher in 1981, after calling him to pitch a copy of the debut single by The Alarm, 'Unsafe Building'. The two built a close friendship in the early 1980s, and Fletcher's first trip to the USA, where he would later move, was as part of the press for The Alarm's April 1986 Spirit of 86 concert at UCLA broadcast live worldwide by MTV. Though they fell out of touch for 25 years, they recently had cause to renew contact, leading to this interview.
Mike, a keen hiker, runner, climber and footballer, is supported in his daily mission by his wife of 30 years, Jules Peters, also a cancer survivor, and the subject of two recent BBC Wales documentaries on her own battles to overcome breast cancer surgery. Together, their positive outlook has enabled them to outrun cancer and raise a family. Mike released a new album as The Alarm, Raw, earlier this spring, and is about to set off on a sponsored walk of Offa's Dyke, which runs down the English-Welsh border. Listeners are invited to join in virtually.
You can find Mike Peters' music at TheAlarm.com
The Mike Peters documentary Man In The Camo Jacket can be found at https://maninthecamojacket.com/
Info on the documentary 'Mike and Jules: While We Still Have Time' and 'Jules Peters: My Cancer Journey' can be found at https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b08ryqrw
The Alarm YouTube channel is at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCUxf6WCerflAEhwtniLeaNg
The Alarm on Instagram can be found at https://www.instagram.com/thealarm/
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