For the last four years of my life I have been living as a cancer survivor. In June of 2006 I was diagnosed with testicular cancer. I had no clue what I was up against, what it meant to my wife and daughter and what it meant to me. I was diagnosed and all I could think about is “I am going to die.”
That is what happens when you are not educated on cancer, different types, options on surgery and treatment. I was simply not ready to face the challenge ahead of me, or so I thought.
My doctor (Dr. Martin Schor) explained to me what I was facing and I did have many options, but he was serious to say I have to move quickly before it gets worse. He also told me that I needed to research the type of cancer I had and mentioned to me that I should look up the Lance Armstrong Foundation, which I did that same night.
That was the very first time I heard of the LAF (aka LIVESTRONG) and what they were doing to help people become survivors.
Don’t get me wrong I did hear about Lance Armstrong before my diagnosis, but I am not a cycling fan so all I knew was he had an advance form of testicular cancer, beat it and went on to win 7 Tour de Frances. However, I did not know anything of LIVESTRONG and what they did.
Over the next few days I spent countless hours reading through their website (http://www.livestrong.org) and all of their associated links to partner sites. During these days of research I was also getting a second surgery and at home recuperating.
I was energized by what I was reading about LIVESTRONG. Imagine being diagnosed and reading about how LIVESTRONG believes “Unity is strength. Knowledge is power. Attitude is everything.”
That sounded a bell off in my head. I knew I was not alone. I knew I was in for one hell of a fight, but I also knew that an organization like LIVESTRONG was there for me. Helping me through the most difficult time of my life and educating me so I could make informed decisions.
That is what LIVESTRONG does. They inspire, encourage, support and most of all they care. This is all because of the people running the organization. From Lance down to the newest college intern. It is truly infectious – in a good way.
The recent news of the allegations against Lance have made numerous friends ask me what I think of the situation. It seems to be the same with many of my LIVESTRONG supporters and volunteers.
Lance the celebrity is not my friend, nor do I have any ties to him. To me his is simply the founder and chairman of the greatest cancer fighting organization in the world and a great cyclist.
On a moral front, who am I to judge him. He does not know me and I do not know him. If I did know him maybe I would have more passionate feeling on the topic, but I do not.
Let’s just say that it comes out that he is found to really have used performance enhancing drugs (PEDs.) I would be the first to say he made a huge mistake and owes his cycling supporters, sponsors and companies he endorses a big apology for lying. That is it from my side. His cycling issues are not issues with LIVESTRONG. They are completely two different aspects of his life.
He is a true inspiration to all cancer survivors. This does not mean if he is found to have done PED’s that he should get a free pass – as he should not, but we must look at the two world’s separately.
I tend to look on the bright side and I will believe Lance unless proven otherwise, but again it does not affect my view on LIVESTRONG and what they are doing.
My friend, Joe Schneider, wrote the other day “Livestrong is so much bigger than him. Livestrong is a movement, not a person. We are a grassroots, unified group of people working together for a greater cause. Close to 600,000 Americans die every year from cancer and 1,500 Americans die every single day. That is a 9/11 every two days. Think about that. Globally 28 million people are living with cancer. 28 million! 22,000 people die every day from cancer, that’s more than AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria combined.”
That is the way I look at it. The Lance allegations are not a reflection on LIVESTRONG, there Executive staff lead by CEO Doug Ulman, the great staff, their partners our the awesome volunteers.
I will continue to support, volunteer and raise funds for LIVESTRONG. I am glad Lance is leading us in the fight against cancer. All the drama and allegations that is going on right now does not change that.
Thank you Lance for creating such a terrific organization, inspiring me and allowing me to help others. Now matter how this all works out I know you will still come out on top and continue to lead the fight.