Aspen – July 10

It’s a surreal morning… at 4.00 AM we are sat waiting for the Amtrak train to pull into Provo.

Mike Peters Amtrak California Zephyr

There is no station just a covered shelter. All of a sudden a huge train pulls into view with the unmistakeable sound of the California Zephyr’s low bell softly ringing to herald it’s arrival. We climb out of the car and Russ and I bid each other well (Russ ls heading for Italy on another film production he has in the works), and I board the train bound for Glenwood Springs, Colorado.

Mike Peters Russ Kendall

I have booked myself a sleeper room on this huge juggernaut of a train and am shown to my bed. I manage to get some sleep until the early morning light and heat wakes me up for breakfast at 6:30. As much as I like talking to strangers who mistake me for Rod Stewart =;-), I head back to bed for some more sleep.

Mike Peters California Zephyr

There are some beautiful views from the panoramic windows and I know for a lot of people (like my father-in-law Peter), this would be a dream come true just as I realise and appreciate how lucky I am to be able to enjoy these experiences.

Mike Peters California Zephyr

California Zephyr

At precisely 12:10 I arrive on time at Glenwood Springs to be picked up by Julie Lampton (Jules 2), who Jules (Jules 1), and I met together on Love Hope Strength’s Kilimanjaro Rocks adventure back in 2009 (I first met Julie (Jules 2), on Everest Rocks in 2007). Julie whisks me off into the Rockies in her open top car and we pull into places like ‘Woody Creek’ famed as the watering hole of choice for one Hunter S. Thompson.

photo

Aspen is our destination and what a beautiful place it is. We meet up with Rob Rushing, Bekki and Randy who are helping run the donor drive tonight and together we all pile into the Love Hope Strength camouflage mini (that was donated by Schomp of Denver), and drive up to Maroon Bells to visit one of the most photographed and visited viewing points in America. The water is so still and reflects the beauty back from above.

Mike Peters Maroon Bells, Colorado

Upon arrival at the famous ‘Belly Up’, I notice that our tour bus is in a state of total disarray as we have faulty brakes and flat tyres…. The Journey is taking it’s toll on our means of transport that’s for sure. I get another surprise when my phone goes off with a text message from Taylor Hawkins of the Foo Fighters. He wants to come to the show…. !!

Mark Brzezicki gets the same text and is very excited. We both met Taylor at Oxegen Festival in Ireland a couple of summers ago in 2011. He is a self confessed Big Country and Alarm fan. The gig is another stormer and afterwards at the donor booth I am accosted by Taylor singing “Sixty Eight Guns Will Never Die”……what a night!!!!!!

Mike Peters Rob Rushing Taylor Hawkins

Mike Peters Big Country Belly Up Aspen

Big Country Tour Dates 

 

Be a Donor-Get On The List! Campaign 

 

Love Hope Strength 

 

The Alarm Official Web site 

 

Love Hope Strength Video Trailer See the video here

 

Mike Peters appears at House of Commons for Marrow Drive to Celebrate Parliament Increasing Eligibility Requirements of Donors in the UK from 17-30 to 17-55 years of age BBC News

 

 

 

 

 

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Agoura Hills – June 22

It’s extremely hot today. I spent some of the afternoon with Mark Brzezicki, our illustrious drummer from Big Country, talking about music and home. At the sound check we were sent some Rock And Roll Pizza’s from a Love Hope Strength supporting Pizza house in Moorpark, California. I went over there to say thanks! The owner Dave (a great friend of Taylor Hawkins of the Foo Fighters who cites Mark Brzezicki as a major influence), was somewhat surprised.  He readily agreed to host a concert and pizza party for LHS UK’s Lydia Franklin who is riding route 666 for LHS in October. Back at The Canyon Club, it turned out to be another great show for Big Country. Tom Vitorino (Big Country’s Manager), was there to see us for the first time in the USA proper. Tom manages bands like The Cult and The Doors and has a great vision for the outlook of the modern music industry, which has tons of ideas and provides challenges for us as musicians. It’s refreshing to talk with someone who is on our side in this evolving game of musical chess that the music industry has become for those of a certain age!!!! It was a great platform for the band to perform at it’s best and the sound on stage was excellent, I was in the crowd during ‘Porrohman’ and then again after the show, mixing with people who have waited patiently to see this band play again (Big Country has not performed in the USA for 20 years).

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RNR PIZZA

In the dressing room after the show and everything rock and roll has gone home. I spend sometime online looking at photos of my little guys Dylan (9), and Evan (6), back home in Wales. They are in Barmouth for the weekend with Jules and our friend Delyth who is the mother of my kid’s best friends Rhodri and Carwyn. I know it’s tough for all of them as ‘Dad’ is away in America on tour. I can see a couple of shots posted on Facebook… it looks windy and I feel seriously homesick. (My two are on the left of this photo).
Evan, Dylan, Cangi, Rhodri
I end up on the Love Hope Strength US Facebook page www.facebook.com/lovehopestrength, and notice a message posted by Christopher Schepper “New Drug May Be Best Treatment For Leukemia Yet”. I click it open and it links me to a story posted on CNN from Time Magazine…….

New drug may be best treatment for leukaemia yet

Now I know why saw Dolphins yesterday!!!!! This is amazing for someone like me. This is the sort of news I live for! It might mean that everything I do in life to try and stay alive is actually going to be worth the sacrifices. It could mean more time for me with my boys, and with Jules. It could mean that I could end up being cured in my lifetime!!!!!! It means that I have to keep going, to keep fighting, to stay alive. I forward it to Jules followed by texts and messages to read what I’m just reading……..

Jules PetersThis is absolutely phenomenal!  Thank the Lord for the internet, for Doctors, for research, for people who care, for CNN, for TIME magazine, for Alexandra Sifferlin, for Christopher Schepper….. thank you, thank you, thank you for posting this!!!!!

New drug may be best treatment for leukaemia yet

(TIME.com) — It’s called ibrutinib, and it’s a potential breakthrough in treating chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) ….. 
That’s what I’ve got!!!!
that could leave patients with fewer side effects than chemotherapy.
Thank Heaven for that!
In research published in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM), scientists
God bless them…
report that the experimental drug, which differs from broadly acting chemotherapy agents by specifically targeting certain cancer-causing processes, significantly prolongs the life of patients.
Wheeeeyyyy Heeeeeyyyyyyyyyy!!!!!!
Ibrutinib
I love that drug!!!!!
is currently being tested on tumors that target the body’s immune system, such as CLL and mantle cell lymphoma (MCL).
CLL is the second most common form of leukemia among adults in the U.S., and about 15,000 Americans, most of whom are elderly, are diagnosed with the blood and bone marrow cancer every year.
If you were good at science in school read on…… if not read on anyway…..
The drug is the first to bind to and block the activity of a protein known as Bruton’s tyrosine kinase (BTK), which plays an important role in helping immune cell tumors, which develop from abnormally growing blood stem cells, to grow. Once ibrutinib binds to the immune system’s B-cells, it prevents tumors growing in these cells from signaling for the nutrients they need to grow and divide. According to the study, the drug doesn’t seem to affect the body’s T-cells, as chemotherapy agents do, so patients experience fewer side effects.
 
TIME: On the horizon at last, cancer drugs that harness the body’s own immune system
Early work on animals showed that the experimental drug effectively shuts down tumor cell division, so the researchers tested the compound on 85 CLL patients who had all tried and failed to respond to at least two other anti-cancer treatments. Some even harbored genetic mutations associated with particularly aggressive forms of CLL that typically lead to death within two years of diagnosis.
The patients were randomized to take one of two different doses of an ibrutinib pill a day. After nearly two years of treatment, 71% of this hard-to-treat group had responded with slower tumor growth, and at 26 months, 75% showed no additional progression of their cancer. At the end of the study period, 83% of the participants were still alive, and most of the patients only complained of diarrhea and fatigue.
TIME.com: A cancer drug reverses Alzheimer’s disease in mice
“This is truly a breakthrough drug for CLL. I have been a CLL specialist since 1997, and we have not had a drug like this come into the field yet,” says study author Dr. John C. Byrd, the director of the division of hematology at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center.
“The most common thing I have heard patients say is that it brings their disease under control and makes them feel how they did before their cancer. I’ve heard that at least a dozen times.” The scientists and patients were most encouraged by the fact that the the drug helped them to enjoy a longer period of time, on average, in which their tumors remained stable and didn’t progress, than they they had while using chemotherapy agents.
TIME: New hope for cancer
The MCL patients showed similarly positive results. MCL is an aggressive form of non-Hodgkin lymphoma that generally doesn’t respond to existing chemotherpay, immune-based treatment or stem cell transplants. But in a separate study also appearing in NEJM involving 111 advanced MCL patients, about 68% of the participants responded to ibrutinib and 58% were alive after 18 months on the therapy. The response rate was encouraging since the last agent to treat MCL was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) with a 30% response rate. That efficacy data, combined with the experimental drug’s favorable side effect profile, has some doctors hoping that ibrutinib might one day replace the harsher chemotherapy agents that are currently the standard of care for these cancers. “With chemotherapy, you get it for a specific period of time because patients cannot tolerate the side effects long term. This is an oral medicine that targets something the leukemia cells are dependent on but the rest of the body isn’t,” says Byrd. “People can take a pill once a day and generally they tolerate it well. The side effects are much less than the chemo or other therapies that would be used in this setting.” Ibutrinib is the first agent to specifically target the BTK pathway, but it’s part of a wave of new anti-cancer agents that have been developed to act as more precise, smart bomb medications that destroy just cancer cells while leaving healthy cells intact. That allows them to minimize the often intolerable side effects of harsher drugs like chemotherapy agents, which tend to wipe out both healthy and cancerous cells at once. “In some situations there have been some medications we have tested where patients have said they would rather not be treated and pass (away) from their leukemia than go through the side effects of their medicine that is not going to cure them,” says Byrd.
TIME.com: Scientists identify opium poppy genes that make promising cancer drug
Both of the clinical trials, which were sponsored by ibrutinib’s developer, Pharmacyclics, involved older adults, who are most often affected by these cancers, so the researchers believe the results should be applicable to most patients diagnosed with these diseases.
The studies also suggest that patients may benefit from longer progression-free survival if they start therapy earlier in the course of their disease.
“Right now, after this drug gets approved, it will likely be used in the setting of relapse initially, but there are ongoing studies that are looking at it for initial therapy. It is something that is especially (beneficial) for elderly patients who do not tolerate chemotherapy well. This will likely replace chemotherapy,” says Bryd. The fact that even patients with the most aggressive types of CLL, which are driven by genetic mutations, responded to ibrutinib also hints that the experimental drug may become an important part of treating these cancers in coming years. The FDA designated it as breakthrough therapy, and Pharmacyclics and Janssen, who are jointly developing the drug, plan to file a New Drug Application (NDA) with the FDA for the use of ibrutinib to treat B-cell malignancies by 2014.
I know that to the uninitiated (and if you are one of those lucky people who are reading this and I sincerely hope it stays that way for you), then this is a lot to take in. But for me and my family it’s the best news we have had since December 1995, when a piece of paper was handed out to me by a doctor in Wales, that had the word ‘CANCER’ written on it and changed the course of our lifes. I was still in the dressing room when a venue manager came in to turn out the lights…..  I was the last person to leave the room but walked out on such a high. Ibrutinib…. what a strange name for a drug created from an opium poppy gene….. now I also know why The Alarm have used the red poppy as it’s symbol since 1982….. it’s the flower of life!

Big Country Tour Dates 

Be a Donor-Get On The List! Campaign 

Love Hope Strength 

The Alarm Official Web site 

Love Hope Strength Video Trailer See the video here

Mike Peters appears at House of Commons for Marrow Drive to Celebrate Parliament Increasing Eligibility Requirements of Donors in the UK from 17-30 to 17-55 years of age BBC News

Follow us on Twitter: @LHSF