Livestrong started in 2004 as a yellow wrist bracelet released by The Lance Armstrong Foundation shortly before Armstrong’s sixth Tour de France victory. The Livestrong bracelets came to symbolize the cancer foundation and its global fight against cancer. In the wake of Armstrong being accused of taking performance-enhancing drugs, The Lance Armstrong Foundation is officially changing its name to the Livestrong Foundation.
Lance Armstrong has not officially responded to the allegations, but many of his friends and co-workers have turned on him, prompting all of Armstrong’s major sponsors to cancel their contracts with him.
An official spokesman for Armstrong declined to comment on the name change.
According to The Wall Street Journal, Mark McKinnon, a board member of the charity, said “the cause and the organization had to have its own independent persona,” and that Armstrong was actually “one of the chief architects” of the effort to separate the organization from the identity of its founder. “It’s the noble thing to do, designed to protect the organization he cares so much about,” McKinnon said.
“The foundation is counting on him to remain an active advocate in the global cancer movement, and we certainly welcome his participation, however he chooses to be involved,” said Livestrong spokeswoman Katherine McLane over at USA Today.
Since Lance Armstrong stepped down as Livestrong’s chairman, ending his relationship with Livestrong completely, the cancer organization has decided to appoint new leadership. According to MSNBC, Kenya Johnson will become vice president of programs and Heather Wajer will serve as vice president of marketing.
“We are excited to add both Heather Wajer and Kenya Johnson to the Livestrong team,” said Livestrong executive vice president of operations Andy Miller. “Their unique backgrounds and experiences will help them bring a fresh perspective to the organization, moving it forward to continue to serve individuals with cancer worldwide.”
Fortunately for the Livestrong Foundation, and cancer-fighters everywhere, only eight donors have asked for refunds after the Lance Armstrong drug scandal. In fact, Livestrong says donations have increased seven percent since August 23, when the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) announced it would strip Armstrong of his seven titles in the Tour de France. Even since mid-October, when the USADA released their evidence, donations having been rising by 15 percent.
I’m glad to see Livestrong Foundation stand strong even after their founder fell into disgrace. Let us hope their fight against cancer helps find a solution.