Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Livestrong Day at Denver University

I took the afternoon off from work yesterday to attend one of the many Livestrong events that were occurring across the country.

Lance Armstrong was coming to Denver University to speak during part of a whirlwind tour. Denver was the 3rd of 4 stop, he started the day in New York city, flew somewhere in Ohio, on to Denver and was then heading to Las Vegas for the final stop.

I have always been a big fan of Lance's not so much for being a seven time champion of the Tour De France. That is an amazing story that stands on it's own. It is really what he had done off the bike that inspires me.

Lance told us of the conversation he had with his Oncology doctor as he was being discharged after treatment. He had two choices, he could walk out of the hospital as a private citizen, and never share his story of his diagnosis or his treatment. That was his right. His other choice was the obligation of the cured. Walk out of the hospital and make it his mission for the rest of his life to tell everyone that he is a cancer survivor. He embraced the obligation of the cured, started the Lance Armstrong foundation, travels across the country raising awareness, uses his position in the bully pulpit to task Congress and the President of the United States to increase funding for cancer. He could have walked away from his responsibility. He is 35 years old, never needs to work another day in his life yet he continues to be relentless in his efforts to provide hope and inspiration. Now, I just need to figure out how to recruit him to run a marathon for TNT. That would be something.

The other part of his message yesterday was stressing the importance of this year's election, encouraged all of the young people on campus to register to vote. If you want change, you have to demand change and that change starts in rooms like this across the country. I think that is a great message for young people. Both of my children will be voting in their first presidential election this fall.

The other cool part of the day, is I almost bumped into Michelle Kwan who is a graduate student at Denver University. She is so tiny, instantly recognizable. I got to see two famous people in one day.

Kelly also embraced her obligation of the cured when she was in remission after her second stem cell transplant. Kelly volunteered for additional testing, blood draws. She wanted to help her doctors understand why the protocol was effective as she wanted to help other cancer patients. She could have easily said, no more. That was not in her nature. Kelly was so strong, but she was also such a kind and gentle person and exemplified the motto of the Lance Armstrong foundation to Live strong. She wanted to give others the chance to Live Strong.

One last thought-Do you live strong like Kelly and Lance?

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