Years ago, long before I got cancer I read Lance's book, "It's Not About the Bike." I was a cyclist and had been following his cycling career. Each year, I watched him win the Tour de France, but in all reality, what drew me to him wasn't his athletic talent and incredible skill on the bike. It was his story and fight with cancer and how he came back, after being told that the odds of survival weren't in his favor. Lance, not only ignored and defied those odds, but he surpassed what doctors thought he would do. He not only beat cancer, but trained for and won the Tour de France SEVEN years in a row.
We know that story though.
Recently, Lance has made headline news with his doping allegations. After decades of allegations that Lance was blood doping and using illegal substances during his Tour wins, and after a two year legal investigation with the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, Lance has decided to walk away. Consequently, he faces a lifetime ban from competitive cycling and even possibly having his Tour titles stripped.
Some might think that Lance is quitting this legal battle because he is guilty. Well, the jury is still out on that one. Sure, he has never failed a drug test (in over 600 drug tests), yet countless team members attest that Lance is guilty. The question if he is guilty or not might be the question of the century. We will probably just never know. Do I think Lance is guilty? I am not the judge of that. I won't come to my own conclusions on the issue because it is not my place. At the end of the day, Lance is the one accountable for his own actions. Only he truly knows if he is innocent or guilty and only he can feel good or bad about his actions.
The thing is, nothing can take away from the fact that Lance has done amazing things for this world. Lance has made this world a better place. Guilty or not, his cancer foundation, in my opinion, is his greatest success. Raising 500 million for cancer research and patients is awesome, but nothing trumps the vision he has created for millions of cancer patients. Lance has given hope to so many cancer survivors that there is hope, that we must never give up fighting, and that we must stand up and fight against cancer. And because of him, millions of people are cancer SURVIVORS. They are alive because Lance helped people realize that they had "it" in them to defeat cancer.
The yellow rubber bracelet that I wear on my wrist (and have worn for nearly 8 years now) is a reminder to me to never give up hope, to continue to be optimistic, and to look forward with optimism and faith for a bright future. It truly is a reminder to LIVESTRONG.
Thank you, Lance. I don't care if you doped or not. You will always be a hero in my books.
Here are some of my favorite Lance quotes, a few from his books:
"What ever your 100% looks like, give it."
"Knowledge is power, community is strength and positive attitude is everything."
"What are my chances? It was a question I would repeat over and over. But it was irrelevant, wasn't it? It didn't matter, because the medical odds don't take into account the unfathomable. There is no proper way to estimate somebody's chances, and we shouldn't try, because we can never be entirely right, and it deprives people of hope. Hope that is the only antidote of fear."
"I'll spend the rest of my life puzzling over my survival. Cancer no longer consumes my life, my thoughts, or my behavior, but the changes it wrought are in me, unalterable."
"You know, I would rather have one year of wonderful than seventy years of mediocre. That's how I feel about it. Life's an unknown. You don't know. Nobody knows."
"Anyone who imagines they can work alone winds up surrounded by nothing but rivals, without companions. The fact is, no one ascends alone.”
And of course, my favorite...
"If children have the ability to ignore all odds and percentages, then maybe we can all learn from them. When you think about it, what other choice is there but to hope? We have two options, medically and emotionally: give up, or Fight Like Hell.”