So, you might be wondering where all my inspirational individuals on the ides posts are. Well, I have plenty of inspirational individuals I’d like to spotlight. However, I decided that I want to go in a different direction with it. Instead of spotlighting celebrities or people I’ve read about in books or online, I really wanted to spend some time spotlighting friends and family that have either been through their own cancer battles, or have been closely affected by someone else’s. However, when dealing with real people with real schedules, guaranteeing a new spotlight on a specific date is pretty much impossible. So, until I get a few spotlights banked up, my genius “plan” is to post them “whenever.” To borrow a catch phrase from one of my favorite bloggers, T-Rex Runner, “I’m sorry, I’m not sorry.” I am, however, very excited with the new plan, and can’t wait to share these amazing stories with you!
So, in other news, something eventful happened yesterday despite my best efforts to lay around the house and do nothing all weekend. Saturday was off to a great start as I was able to watch a ton of TV: Grey’s Anatomy, Private Practice, about six hours worth of Downton Abbey, two or so hours of Falling Skies, etc. I haven’t had a day to myself to do nothing in many moons, and the fact that I had so much new TV to watch was irresistible. As soon as I finished up my 10th or 11th hour of TV watching, however, I got an email from one of the board members of Team Survivor, a female cancer-survivor/athletic group I’m part of.
As you might recall from my October post, LIVESTRONG, CNN gave a few members of Team Survivor the opportunity to be interviewed about Lance Armstrong and the nonprofit he founded, LIVESTRONG. The interview followed the USDA’s investigation that ultimately led to his resignation from the LIVESTRONG board and being barred from cycling. There’s been a lot of renewed interest in the story because earlier this month Lance Armstrong announced that he would be appearing on Oprah this upcoming Thursday, leading to much speculation that he will finally do what he has avoided for more than a decade and confess to doping. The actual interview happened today in Austin, and all reports seem to confirm that he did confess and apologized to LIVESTRONG staff.
The email I received late Saturday night from Team Survivor was actually to tell me that a reporter with the British NBC affiliate ITV had found my blog, saw the CNN interview, and wanted to interview me about my experience with LIVESTRONG. I got in touch with him the next morning and, long story short, I found myself a few hours later sitting on my couch having a nice chat with Steve Scott in front of a camera. With mythic speed, I managed to squeeze in church, a hair cut, and a mad dash house cleaning in those few hours. A news producer named Will is actually the one who contacted me and set everything up, so I didn’t realize until after they left that I had been interviewed by someone with his own Wikipedia page, who had also interviewed the likes of Princess Diana and Nelson Mandela. Pretty surreal!
I mainly discussed thoughts I’ve already expressed on here. I said that while I hope he comes clean and apologizes if the allegations are true, it really doesn’t matter to me one way or the other what happens in the Oprah interview because for me, its never been about Lance Armstrong– the athlete. Speculation about his drug abuse had been rampant long before I became involved in the cancer community, and I had already accepted it as a probability (albeit part of me always wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt.) However, I am very grateful to Lance Armstrong– the cancer survivor. He not only had the platform to raise awareness for cancer, but he used it to form an amazing organization that empowers cancer fighters around the world. I discussed the many ways LIVESTRONG has helped me the past year, programs that my friends have benefited from, and stated that I hope LIVESTRONG doesn’t suffer for the choices Lance Armstrong made in his career.
I also used it as an opportunity to discuss young adult cancer. Every year there are 70,000 new diagnoses in the 15-39 year old age group, the only age group not to see improvement in survival rates since the 1970’s. Lance Armstrong was my age when he was first diagnosed, and LIVESTRONG has been instrumental at starting and maintaining a dialog within the cancer community to address why people my age get lost in the shuffle, through the Young Adult Cancer Alliance and other programs. Hopefully I didn’t say anything dumb, but I guess we’ll find out in a few days! The story is going to air in the UK on Wednesday, and I should have an online link by Thursday or Friday to share with you. I imagine my interview will be pretty short, but its still very exciting nonetheless!
The three Brits (News Producer Will, Steven Scott & Ben the Cameraman– who looked just like Matthew Perry from Friends) were all extremely friendly and seemed genuinely interested in what I had to say about LIVESTRONG. They had research me pretty well and personalized the interview. All in all, the experience was really incredible. Before and after the interview we chatted about my study abroad trip to the UK, Ireland & France in 2008 and discussed the bipolar Texas weather (it went from the 80s to 40s overnight.) I even gave them a crash course in college football in the States.
Despite the sadness of the situation, I’m glad I had the opportunity to share my story and raise awareness to fight this disease, and I hope other cancer fighters are out there doing the same thing!
Since Rene & I are the worst at taking photos, I did not get a pic of me and the British camera crew. However, I will leave you with some photos from my days across the pond.