Collins, NCI Staff Accompany Patients to U2 Concert
When rock band U2 played FedEx Field on June 20 as part of a tour celebrating the 30th anniversary of its album The Joshua Tree, a contingent of NIH staff and patients were on hand to enjoy both the concert and some pre-show festivities.
Just as he did 6 years ago when U2 played at Baltimore’s M&T Bank Stadium, NIH director Dr. Francis Collins and his wife Diane Baker accompanied young Clinical Center patients who enjoyed backstage access and a chance to meet band members.
Collins has struck up a friendship with U2 guitarist David Howell Evans, known professionally as The Edge. Evans’ daughter Sian, now 19, is a leukemia survivor and he remains interested in scientific research, especially concerning angiogenesis and diet with respect to cancer prevention.
Indeed, the day before the FedEx concert, Collins and The Edge had a chance to meet and play guitar together in Washington, D.C. The guitarist was in town not only for the concert but also to visit Capitol Hill and lobby for more research.
At FedEx Field, the patients and their parents/guardians got a taste of the rock star life, handling expensive drums and guitars on stage and taking part in the pre-show catered dinner. In addition to Collins and his wife, chaperones included Dr. Nirali Shah of NCI’s leukemia program and Dr. Lori Wiener, head of the psychosocial support and research program in NCI’s Pediatric Oncology Branch.
The NIH entourage traveled together by van to the show and returned around midnight to the Clinical Center having had an exhilarating evening of music and camaraderie.