I wear a yellow Livestrong bracelet. I am not a cancer survivor but I have close ones who are or are still fighting this terrible disease. It is a message I choose to carry because of them . Livestrong is Lance Armstrong’s foundation. I read two of Lance Armstrong’s books and I admire him. That’s right. The man who is facing a serious barrage of questions and federal inquiries about possible doping during the Tour de France competitions. Also, a bunch of questions about his foundation: It is a cancer-related foundation, but is it contributing to cancer research or is merely another way of promoting the man who has already made a big name for himself. I am personally getting tired of seeing this. I have been in a couple of races involving cycling a few times, and I take my bike out for rides in both hot and cold weather, windy or sleety or all of the above. I rode uphill and felt that my legs will fall off. Luckily they didn’t but I gained a whole different perspective on people who do it at a professional level and people who ride for various causes, personal and otherwise. It’s
tough TOUGH. And I humbly admit to barely scratching the surface myself.
All I can say about this combined bashing is this. About the cycling/doping part: What he did is outstanding. Whether he did or did not use performance-enhancing drugs makes no difference in how I see him. He inspired me and he inspired many others, I am sure, but in the the interest of keeping with the title of my post I’ll just say me for now. He did and I am thankful for that.
As for the alleged self-promotion through Livestrong, here’s what I think. The man beat cancer. Not only that, he chose to share his experience by writing about it and then he put together a foundation that helps and supports people with cancer. I keep reading stories of people who were so inspired by Lance Armstrong that they not only beat cancer but also participated in various races afterwards. The naysayers among you will say, well, maybe there’s lots of others who did that too and they have no idea what Livestrong is. Sure there are. I hope there’s lots of them. But that’s beside the point I am trying to make. My point is this: If Lance Armstrong helped at least one person beat cancer by inspiring them with his example and through his foundation, then I cannot fault the man for being who he is, the face behind the foundation. A typical case of one hand washes the other or rather one hand helps the other? Even so. The world would be a better place if more of us would so the same, reaching out in ways that inspire others to do something good for themselves and pay it forward. Whatever happens as a collateral effect of that, well, I’d say we’re missing the goodness if we choose to focus too much on it.
Why do we feel the need to take these people down? Envy? Perhaps. No one is perfect and yet we want them to be. Even then, having no stones to throw, someone will find a pebble or two to hurl at them. But why not celebrate and appreciate the goodness people bring instead of trying to kick them in the shins? I see a lot of indifference around me on a regular basis. I say it without any false pretenses that I am never indifferent. I strive not to be but being human comes with faults. If someone chooses to be less indifferent and makes a dent that means the world to at least one person I’d say we should let them live. Call me biased, I might as well be. But I choose to stick with the bright side in this case because it really did make some areas of my life brighter.
Bottom line? I’ll keep wearing my yellow bracelet and as soon as I’m cast-free I’ll celebrate with a bike ride. If the hill proves too steep, one of the things I’ll peek at for some much needed wind at my back will be that yellow LIVESTRONG strip. So there.