Monday, 25 February 2013

Love Hope Strength - Katrina Interview

Many of you in The Alarm family will be familiar with Katrina who is a constant presence promoting the work of Love Hope Strength Foundation at gigs and events as well as being always happy to chat! With the long campaigned for swab test finally approved for the UK we catch up with Katrina on the eve of the start of the "Vinyl" tour to find out all about it and what we can all do to help LHS.

How did you become involved in LHS?

I was working in the fundraising industry and Mike came up with the idea that he wanted to set up a cancer charity and I offered to help due to my knowledge and here we are nearly six years later...

What attracted you to LHS over other charities?

I have helped a large number of charities through my fundraising experience. Love Hope Strength Foundation seemed to be a natural charity to be attracted to, everyone knows someone who has sadly suffered with cancer. I also liked the fact it connected with the music industry to spread the word as I am a huge fan of going to gigs and indie/rock music.

What advice can you give those wishing to fund raise for LHS?

Love Hope Strength Foundation relies on good will, fundraising and our fantastic supporters without who we simply couldn't achieve what we want to do. I am so proud of everyone who has supported LHS and we really appreciate your support. If you want to come along to one of our "Rocks" events please do, it's a lovely friendly fun day.

Snowdon Rocks, our first ever event, is now in its seventh year and it is one of my favourite days of the year. We climb Snowdon every year, have a few songs with our musicians along the way and raise money for cancer projects. Last year, after many requests, we climbed the highest mountain in the UK Ben Nevis and raised over £20,000+. It was a fantastic weekend which included a performance by what I would call a Celtic Supergroup featuring members of The Alarm, Big Country and Simple Minds - what a night! We will also be doing Ben Nevis again this year and who knows what surprises we have in store for that weekend.

If anyone is unable to attend one of our official events and would like to fund raise for LHS you can do your own sponsor event, run a marathon, do a walk or cycle or run a fund raising evening/gig. The list is endless and the most important thing is to have fun. Anything is possible and we appreciate everyone's fund raising efforts.

Now the LHS Store is up and running what other lines can we expect to see?

The LHS Website Store has just started so we will be adding more items to the collection. Keep checking what we have there as new stock is added. If anyone has any ideas of what cool items we could sell in the LHS store please get in touch and email me at

Tell us about the swab test, why is this such a big step for LHS?

We're really excited in the UK about this new initiative, we've been campaigning long and hard to get this into the UK. We are working within an exciting partnership with Delete Blood Cancer UK which will enable people between the ages of 17 and 55 to sign up to the stem cell donor register by filling in a form and using swabs to give some cheek cell samples for tissue analysis. A simple sign up at a gig or festival could save a life...

It's a big step as unfortunately someone is diagnosed with blood cancer every 18 minutes and every 10 minutes blood cancer takes a life somewhere in the world. In the UK we have a 50% chance of patients never finding the the life saving match they need whereas in Germany there is a 4 out of 5 chance of finding a match. We need to alter the UK statistics.

Since 2008 Love Hope Strength USA has been working in partnership with Delete Blood Cancer US and have been undertaking donor recruitment drives at a range of cultural events through a campaign called "GET ON THE LIST". So far they have recruited 30,000 potential donors to the USA register. There have been nearly 500 potentially life saving matches between donors and patients in need so far in those 5 years. We are now in a position to replicate this exciting "GET ON THE LIST" campaign in the UK and I cannot wait! We will do our first donor drive at The Alarm show in Bournemouth.

How can people get on the list?

If you want to GET ON THE LIST for the bone marrow donation it is a very simple process, check that you fit the health criteria, collect some cheek samples using the swabs and fill in the form, less than 5 minutes and you can potentially save a life...

We have also been working with NHS Blood and Transplant to encourage people to GET ON THE LIST for the organ donor register as there are currently 10,000 people in the UK who need a transplant with 3 people a day dying while waiting. Unfortunately there are not enough organs available and one donor can save the life of several people, restore the sight or increase the quality of life for many more.

If you would like to join the Organ Donor Register please sign up at and GET ON THE LIST and save a life.

We will be running bone marrow donor drives on the current Alarm and Big Country tours, please come and visit the stall or contact me for further information.

What about those not in a position medically to help, what can they do?

LHS is always looking for volunteers to help with or run donor drives. Whether at gigs or in your own work place, at your own fund raising event or just finding an opportunity for us to do a donor drive. Simply spreading the word above Love Hope Strength Foundation.

We would also be delighted to have you join us on one of our "Rocks" events this year, Ben Nevis Rocks will be Saturday 7th September and Snowdon Rocks is Saturday 14th September. Come and join Mike Peters and the LHS team for a great day out!

How can people register for volunteer training and what will they be doing?

If you are going to an Alarm or Big Country show please come and visit the stall and find out all about the volunteer opportunities. If you cannot make the shows then please drop me a line at as I would be delighted to hear from you. We need volunteers in every part of the UK to assist with this fantastic and exciting life changing project.

Will we see LHS at any other gigs or festivals this year other than The Alarm and Big Country tours?

Love Hope Strength Foundation will be going to the Acoustic Festival of Great Britain in May and we are hoping to go to other festivals and tours this year. We are currently concentrating on The Alarm and Big Country shows but we will be delighted to go into any festival, band tour or sporting event etc where we can do our donor drives.

What does 2013 hold in store for LHS?

it's going to be an exciting year with the launch of the donor drives, going on tour with The Alarm and Big Country and everything else that happens along the way. We have campaigned for the swab donor drives for many years and it is an incredibly special year. I am looking forward to Snowdon Rocks this year and meeting each and every one of you.

Thank you for your support to Love Hope Strength Foundation - we really do appreciate it.

Visit the website to keep up to date with news, join our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter @LHSUK

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