A HARPENDEN rocker is using his musical talent to raise funds for a cardiac unit that has provided his young brother with vital care throughout his life.

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A HARPENDEN rocker is using his musical talent to raise funds for a cardiac unit that has provided his young brother with vital care throughout his life.

Alister Gibbons, 21, is a drummer in alternative band Kill the Weekend and their next CD will raise cash for a fund set up to save the children’s cardiac unit at London’s Royal Brompton Hospital. The unit is currently subject to public consultation over its future and it is Alister’s fear that it may close.

Alister’s 11-year-old brother, Brandon Tilson, is a patient of the unit as he suffers from congenital heart disease and requires open heart surgery quite regularly.

Any decision to close the facility could mean Brandon and his family will have to travel substantial distances to receive the surgery he requires.

Alister said: “There are so many people and so many children dependant on the services that the Royal Bromton can offer and the closure of this unit will affect a lot of families across the UK on a massive scale.

“This is why as a band we have decided to give all the money we make from Strength in Innocence to the Royal Brompton to help keep its services alive – which won’t only be helping my brother and my family but so many others too.”

The band will release their EP in mid May and the song Strength in Innocence was written by Alister about Brandon. The song, which was written before Alister had heard about the cuts, has already been performed live on the BBC’s Introducing on Three Counties Radio.

Alister added: “When I wrote the lyrics, I was trying really hard to show the listeners what my brother means to me and the struggle that we go through as a family knowing that he is suffering every day.

“I also wanted people to know just how lucky they are not to have a loved one suffering from what is essentially a life-threatening illness. There are so many horrible people in the world and my little brother, who is only 11, has a heart of gold.”

All money raised will go directly to The Brompton Fountain, a charity which supports children and their families receiving care at the Royal Bromton for serious heart and lung conditions. It is currently petitioning against plans to close the unit and already has in excess of 8,000 signatures.

A spokesperson for the charity said: “The Brompton Fountain is really grateful to Alister and his band for their offer of musical support. Their unique tribute to a young patient from the hospital is just one example of how the hospital is changing people’s lives and we look forward to hearing the finished song once it has been recorded.”

A spokesperson for NHS Specialised Services said that any decisions regarding the unit would not be implemented until 2013 and the unit would not be fully closed down.

To follow Alister’s band, visit www.myspace.com/killtheweekend and to support the Brompton Fountain, visit: www.thebromptonfountain.org.uk

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