The popularity of rubber silicone wristbands and awareness bracelets propelled to an all time high by Lance Armstrong’s vivid yellow LIVESTRONG cancer bracelets. Introduced in May 2004, these bracelets have raised more than $80 million to date for cancer research, specifically for the LIVESTRONG Foundation, which is an ardent supporter for cancer survivorship.
No matter what people think about Lance Armstrong’s decade’s worth of performance enhancing drug denials and then his not-so-shocking “coming clean” episode with Oprah in January 2013, there is one fact that should not be lost in this sea of accusations, illegal doings and illicit acts: Mr. Armstrong’s voice for charity.
Yes, some may say that Mr. Armstrong simply created a foundation to draw more attention to his self-infatuation and narcissism (no official diagnosis intended), but the reality is that he did suffer from testicular cancer, which in fact spread to his lungs and brain. After extensive therapies, he received a clean bill of health, returning to his preferred sport of cycling.
While many Americans and people from around the world consider Mr. Armstrong a hero in his own right for cancer survivorship, his claim to cycling glory and claim to fame was winning a record seven consecutive Tour de France titles. Now, these titles have been stripped from the record books by the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA). His cycling name and reputations are forever tarnished, synonymous with doping and destine to coexist on sites such as Wikipedia, being erased from world records and the Union Cycliste Internationale.
No one doubts that Mr. Armstrong reflects the characteristics of a convincing, if not manipulative, man that duped the world with some of the most advanced performance enhancing drugs to ever enter into the professional cycling arena. In fact, the USADA even admitted that Mr. Armstrong participated in “the most sophisticated, professionalized and successful doping program that the sport has ever seen.”
However much of a narcissist and self-preserving attention phene the media claims Mr. Armstrong may be, one reality rings true: his dedication to helping preserve cancer research and offer support for cancer survivors.
While the people employed by the Livestrong Foundation likely feel let down and depressed, as though their dear leader led them dazed into the blinding lights similar to a deer being led to vehicular slaughter, they should be proud of the work the LIVESTRONG Foundation has done and focus on the number of lives they have changed, instead of simply on Mr. Armstrong’s shortcomings and antiquated selfish antics.
Whatever opinion one shares about Mr. Armstrong, it is impossible to deny that he and the LIVESTRONG Foundation team forever changed the popularity and ease of fundraising and awareness events. Without companies, such as Reminderband, mass-producing custom bracelets, including charity bands and cancer bracelets, there are a number of charities that would still be relatively unknown. In fact, without the advance of the yellow LIVESTRONG silicone wristband, the attention given to cancer support survivors may not exist. Today, popular awareness bracelets include Multiple Sclerosis, Support Our Troops, Religious awareness and even Breast Cancer Awareness groups.
Everyone is flawed and no one in the world is perfect. While Mr. Armstrong’s sport image is forever flawed, never to regain a devout following, we can honor and preserve the memory of his foundation that helped save the lives of those suffering from the deadly disease we know as cancer.