NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Opinion

February 5, 2013

The fight against cancer must go on

Lance Armstrong is a cheat, a liar and a bully. He is selfish, vengeful and manipulative. He destroyed people, all to hide his cheating and his lies and to preserve the facade of his heroism and to protect his enormous wealth, celebrity and clout.

These facts, following the telecast of Armstrong’s stilted confession to Oprah Winfrey that he took performance-enhancing drugs, are crystal clear.

Millions of people are disillusioned now, some of them heartbroken. Armstrong was a hero. He beat cancer and struck back against the disease by establishing the Livestrong Foundation in 1997. By 2011, the foundation had grown to raise $36 million a year for the good fight.

So now the truth is out, and we’re left to ask, Was it for a good cause? After all, it’s unlikely that the Livestrong Foundation would have become the cash-fueled, cancer-fighting machine that it became without Armstrong’s record of not only beating testicular cancer but going on to spectacular domination of a sport at the world-class level.

Without Armstrong’s Tour victories, Livestrong wouldn’t have raised nearly as much money and couldn’t have helped nearly as many people battle cancer. And without the drugs, it’s unlikely that Armstrong would have won his Tour titles.

In the end, those whose love of Armstrong motivated them to support Livestrong should take solace — their donations have done a great good. Their giving has helped millions fight cancer. It wasn’t Armstrong who did that. It was each individual donor.

While the embodiment of the inspiration to fight cancer to the death — its death — has been exposed as a fraud, the inspiration for the fight survives. Whatever becomes of Armstrong, who faces litigation and possible criminal prosecution, the fight against cancer must go on.

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