By Christina Fuoco-Karasinski
When Mike Peters of The Alarm was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 1995, he adopted the mantra “Love Hope Strength.”
Since then, he’s made it his mission to educate himself and others about cancer and cancer research.
At 6 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 19, Peters will embark on a musical stroll from the Venice Pier to Santa Monica Pier to meet fans and supporters of his Love Hope Strength Foundation. The time will be announced soon.
While he’s in town, he’ll play The Coach House at 7 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 22.
“I want to try and show people that cancer can be overcome,” he added. “In this day and age, it’s not a death sentence like it used to be when I was growing up and when I first heard the word ‘cancer.’
“There are so many people like me who have blood cancers who need a donor for a stem cell transplant to live again, outside of their cancer diagnosis. That can come from the general public. Every person in the world who has a blood cancer needs donors to survive, and each has a match out there in the world.”
Peters is trying to show the public that each one can be a life-saving match of some sort, whether it’s a heart, bone marrow, liver, eyes.
“This is going to be a nice event where we can connect on the seafront walk between the piers and play a bit of music, talk to each other, and, and reconnect after all this time,” Peters said. “We still have a lot to do with the Love Hope Strength Foundation.”
Besides his treatments, Peters has witnessed the miracle of organ donation. Before his friend’s son died, he left a message on his phone saying he wanted to be an organ donor.
As a result, he saved five lives.
“Even in death, there is still beauty to be attained,” Peters said.
He and his wife, Jules, encourage folks to undergo regular screenings for cancer to try to avoid the disease’s grip.
“Even if it comes late, you could still, by having a positive mental attitude, have one more day as a result of not giving in and being able to speak to your loved one,” Peters said. “You can tell them you love them or sign that paper that gives your organs away to save somebody else’s life. That’s a beautiful thing.”
In 1996, Peters recovered from non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and began recording and touring again.
Nearly 10 years later, Peters was diagnosed with chronic lymphocytic leukemia. He co-founded the Love Hope Strength Foundation with fellow patient James Chippendale, the president of CSI Entertainment in Dallas.
Peters, along with 38 other musicians, cancer survivors and supporters, trekked for 14 days to the Mount Everest base camp to perform the highest concert on land to raise awareness and money to fight cancer.
Other musicians in the October 2007 hike included Cy Curnin and Jamie West-Oram of The Fixx, Glenn Tilbrook of Squeeze and Slim Jim Phantom of The Stray Cats.
In 2011, Love Hope Strength Foundation released the film More to Live For, to promote bone marrow donation efforts.
In September 2022, his chronic lymphocytic leukemia relapsed. He was successfully treated, thanks to the North Wales Cancer Centre.
To celebrate his recovery and to promote his foundation, Peters and stakeholders trekked 27 miles through the Alps’ Mont Blanc region as part of the Rock the Alps Love Hope Strength Hike. It raised £100,000, or $122,4000, for the Peters’ children’s cancer hospital in Tanzania.
“It was a great event,” he said. “A year ago, I was very ill, and I wasn’t sure if I was going to make it. My leukemia had relapsed. I had pneumonia, and my lungs were full of blood. I was in a very precarious position. I missed out on going to the Sahara. My wife, Jules, stepped up and led the track. They raised significant funds.
“It was very special for me to actually walk those steps up the Alps and get above the tree line, and walk in the snow. It was a beautiful thing with some great people.”
Jules is a breast cancer survivor, too. The couple supports each other and the cancer community worldwide with the Love Hope Strength Foundation.
While in the hospital last year, Peters wrote new songs, something for which he is grateful.
“I was very lucky to have a lot of music come into my life through various ways that I wasn’t expecting by being in the hospital for a long time,” he said.
“I was at home with pneumonia. I was able to create a new Alarm album called ‘Forwards,’ which has been received fantastically well by the fans and press and media. It’s breathed a whole new life into The Alarm. I want to bring all that energy to California.”
“Forwards” entered the U.K. rock chart at No. 4, and the Billboard independent artist chart at No. 21. The collection adheres to Peters’ and The Alarm’s penchant for soaring rock anthems, such as the hits “Sixty Eight Guns,” “Strength” and “Rain in the Summertime.”
The California acoustic gigs are important to him.
“I want to pack a lot in the short space of time,” he said.
“I want to share 40 years of Alarm music and history and the fact that we’re still alive and kicking as a band making new music—and great new music that sounds incredible live as well.
“Playing in California is special for me, because it’s actually 40 years since I first played an Alarm show in the USA, in California, in 1983. It was at the San Francisco Civic playing with U2. We’ve had an amazing relationship with California fans ever since. So I’m looking forward to coming back and sharing all that with everybody.”
Mike Peters Pier-to-Pier Walk
WHEN: 6 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 19
WHERE: Location to be determined
To sign up to participate in the walk, visit https://bit.ly/MikePetersPier
WHEN: 7 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 22
WHERE: The Coach House, 33157 Camino Capistrano, San Juan Capistrano
COST: Tickets start at $25
Love Hope Strength Foundation