Doug Ulman took his aisle seat for flight 563, Heathrow to Austin, on November 22, 2010. He had just finished another fund raising event and was returning to the Livestrong headquarters in Austin, Texas for his annual Board meeting. Ulman had been working for the survivorship cause since 1997, first with his own foundation, the Ulman Foundation, before joining Livestrong in 2000. Ulman had been a student and soccer player at Brown University when he was diagnosed with cancer. After two remissions, he beat the disease. Having survived cancer, Ulman felt a need to dedicate his life to help other cancer survivors. Ulman left his post as director of the Ulman Foundation when, in 2000, he ...view middle of the document...
Few major threats seemed apparent in Livestrong’s future, save one. Despite the enormous impact to the quality of life for survivors the media focused on the same non-cancer related questions at survivorship fundraisers: “Would you comment on the allegation that Lance used banner substances during his Tour wins?” This question scared Ulman; he ran a foundation that managed in excess of 79 million dollars . If Lance brought the foundation up, could he bring it down? Ulman’s hope was that people would see the situation as ‘Lance, the survivor, who won the Tour de France’, not ‘Lance the celebrity or alleged drug user’. But the way the media chose to portray Lance was not in accordance with the way the foundation would prefer. Furthermore, though Ulman recognized the importance a celebrity like Lance can bring to the cause, he was disappointed that any focus would be taken away from the millions of cancer patients that he was serving.
In 1996, Lance Armstrong, aged 25, was a premier competitive cyclist, winning world championships and multiple stages of the renowned Tour de France. In October of that year, he was diagnosed with testicular cancer that had spread to his abdomen and brain, necessitating immediate surgery and prolonged hospital care with a less-than 40% survival estimate by doctors. Armstrong declared himself “a survivor rather than a victim” and educated himself about his disease and the aggressive treatment he would have to undergo to combat it. Enduring chemotherapy until the end of 1996, it was not until January of 1998 that the cancer had gone into complete remission and he was able to contemplate a return to competitive cycling. In 1999, Armstrong won the Tour de France less than three years after beating cancer and went on to claim victory in the race until 2005 setting a new record for Tour victories.
Lance Armstrong Foundation
In 1997, while still recovering from his battle with cancer, Armstrong created the Lance Armstrong Foundation as a means of generating support for cancer research and awareness, both in his native Texas, as well as internationally. Initially, the Foundation hosted fundraising cycling races and gala events to generate funds for donation. These events and their revenue drawing ability drew dramatically in 1999 when Armstrong won the Tour de France and become a globally recognized athlete. Over his six record-breaking years, Armstrong was able to use his Foundation to fund cancer survivorship programs in Texas and Pennsylvania and community program grants in Texas. In 2003, LAF created its own community program and launched it nationally, emphasizing on physical education, young adults and survivorship support. Armstrong, having been appointed to the President’s Cancer Panel, is able to draw support to his foundation’s work at an expanding rate. But support for LAF would take an unexpected turn in awareness and popularity, all with the help of a simple yellow wristband!