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Australian Rock Legend Jimmy Barnes is the face and voice behind a new appeal aiming to improve the care of critically ill patients in Intensive Care (ER) Units.

Launched in 2000, the Intensive Care Appeal is an annual fundraising event held in Australia and New Zealand to create awareness and raise funds for intensive care research. Organized by the Intensive Care Foundation, the appeal is hoped to improve the number and quality of lives saved in ICUs every year.

Ex-Cold Chisel frontman Jimmy Barnes – known affectionately as “Barnesy” by his fans – is leading the appeal with a series of advertisements declaring “Keep The Beat – Rock On”. Barnes, whose hits include Forever Now and Working Class Man, is certainly no stranger to intensive care units – the 51-year-old singer underwent open heart surgery in 2007 to replace a faulty aortic valve. He was then readmitted with Dressler’s Syndrome, an inflammation around the heart. The rocker was also scheduled to take part in Olivia Newton-John's Great Walk To Beijing, but withdrew in protest over China’s human rights abuses in Tibet.

As part of the 2008 appeal, Intensive Care Day will be held on April 18. ICUs across Australia and New Zealand will partake in festivities such as dressing up as rock stars, playing music from their favorite rock bands, and wigging out with crazy rock inspired hairstyles… although they are quick to point out this won’t interfere with the serious business of saving lives. To raise money, the Foundation will also be selling key tags, wristbands, and pens at branches of the ANZ Bank in Australia and Jester’s Pies in New Zealand. The merchandise will also be available at ICUs across the two countries.

Volunteers are also being sought for the Foundation, and more information can be found at www.intensivecareappeal.com.

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