- Enrique Iglesias invited Love Hope Strength to perform bone-marrow drives at his concerts
- LHS is a "rock 'n' roll cancer organization" building donor databases and cancer centers
- Iglesias: My fans are so diverse ethnically, I thought that would really help
- LHS was co-founded by leukemia survivor Mike Peters of The Alarm
When music superstar Enrique Iglesias hits the road for a tour these days he brings along more than just the music.
The Latin music crossover sensation has joined forces with a unique organization -- Love Hope Strength, a self-proclaimed "rock 'n' roll cancer organization" whose goal is to "save lives one concert at a time."
Iglesias invited the group on tour with him to set up shop at his concerts and perform bone-marrow donation drives as a part of its "Get on the List" campaign to find donors for the National Marrow Registry.
"When you go up on stage and you look at my fans, it's so diverse ethnically, and I thought it would be perfect," Iglesias says. "I thought we would get people of different races to be able to register for this organization, and I thought that would really help."
The diversity of his audience is exactly why the partnership with Iglesias is so vital to the Love Hope Strength Foundation's mission.
"Only 10% of the overall national marrow registry is made up of Hispanic population. So when you're Hispanic looking for a transplant, your chances of finding a match significantly decrease due to the lack of that population on the registry," says Executive Director Shannon Henn.
"So by reaching out to a community through someone like Enrique Iglesias, who has such an incredible Hispanic following, we're able to register people to the database that we never could before."
Iglesias is now well-established in the world of entertainment, and he realizes that this is a powerful place that can be used for the benefit of others.
"I think you reach a certain age where you feel responsible. You can communicate with your fans especially nowadays with Twitter, with Facebook, all these ways, and obviously the live shows, so any time I feel like I can do something that's positive and that's good, it's a good thing," Iglesias says.
The process is simple. The LHS team sets up a table with plenty of information about bone-marrow donation and then asks concert-goers as they pass if they would like to sign up. Once a volunteer ensures they meet the requirements for donation, one of the LHS team members takes a cotton-tipped swab and swabs the inside of the donor's mouth.
That's it. That's all it takes, and the donor can carry on to enjoy the show. If a match is found, the donor will then be notified and then possibly help to save a life.
"What I hope to take away from this experience is people realize that it's important, that they can actually make a huge impact. And we've got to register as many people as possible, and there's a lot of people out there, a lot of kids, that need this," says Iglesias.
Love Hope Strength is an international organization that raises awareness for the needs of cancer patients worldwide. Rock 'n' roll is at the very roots of LHS, as it was co-founded in 2007 by leukemia survivor Mike Peters of the Welsh rock band The Alarm and his friend and fellow survivor James Chippendale.
The men created this organization to ensure that awareness, early detection and proper treatment are not a luxury but instead available to all in need worldwide.
In addition to the "Get on the List" campaign that the group carries out at rock concerts, LHS builds and supports cancer centers all over the globe. LHS purchased the first mammography machine ever in Nepal and funded a mobile unit for cancer screenings in remote parts of Peru.
The group also performs concerts in extreme locations like Mt. Everest to raise money for its cause.
To learn more, visit LoveHopeStrength.org.