At thirteen years old, Lance Armstrong was one of my greatest heroes. I admired and connected with him in many ways– as an athlete (yes, dancers are athletes,) as someone who had also faced cancer, and as someone who helps others fighting cancer. Friends and family know this about me, and many are asking me how I feel about Lance’s cheating and lying confession last night during his interview with Oprah Winfrey. I feel sick. He must feel sick. Everyone he has betrayed for so many years must feel sick. Lying and cheating create a tangled web that traps innocent people. Cheating creates a false fortress that can only be supported by lies. Lying builds the foundation for more lies.
Confession is good. Lance’s confession sets the table for forgiveness.
What makes me feel the worst is that I looked up to Lance as a hero—not because of his awards or celebrity status—but because I was touched by the kindness of his heart. I imagine those who are suffering the most right now are people who know him best… his family, close friends, and those who run LIVESTRONG. This brings me to the most important part of my post.
This year, for the third year, I will be a LIVESTRONG Leader. I have had the tremendous opportunity to visit headquarters and to communicate with employees at the foundation over the past two years. Although my main focus in advocacy is childhood cancer, I will continue to support LIVESTRONG because those who run the foundation, including CEO Doug Ulman, do an outstanding job of serving the cancer community.
This is a link to Mr. Doug Ulman’s interview this morning on the Today Show.
Sometimes I think too much…
As I was searching my mind for comparisons that will stress the importance of continuing support of LIVESTRONG’s services, even though its founder has fallen from Grace, I think of what would have happened to St. Jude Children’s Hospital if Danny Thomas’ reputation was “tarnished” in some way. My point is… the need would still be there.
The need is still here.
People are diagnosed every day with cancer. They need a place to turn for answers. They need navigation services. I know of no better place for this than LIVESTRONG. I know of no finer people to take your hand and lead you through the fight of your life.
LIVESTRONG was born through Lance Armstrong, but it lives on because of the millions of people who have shown their support for helping others in need. Please look beyond the media feeding-frenzy and remember the cancer patients who still need our help.
My heart breaks—not because I feel betrayed—but because I fear for those who may not receive the help they need. What if… what if this means less support for critical services that save lives?
I cannot accept that—not without fighting hard to keep hope alive.
Let’s move on to the business of saving lives.