For the last two or so years, I have been agreed with many that Lance Armstrong has achieved amazing sport success and is an inspiration to those who have conquered cancer. But I have not been super comfortable with his personal life choices, particularly being a frequent reader of his ex-wife Kristen’s blog However, last night I attended 10-The Event, a celebration of 10 years of the Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adult and my feelings have been changed.
Over 1000 supporters of UCF and fans of Lance attended a great reception, dinner, and auction to raise funds for the UCF programs for young adults stricken with cancer. The foundation was founded by Doug Ulman, who is currently the president of LAF. His story and the story of his family is absolutely amazing. Recently, the foundation has created a partnership with IronGirl, which is close to my heart. Cancer survivors young and old, supporters rich and average told their stories and were awarded plaques from the UCF to celebrate their success. County Executive Ken Ulman, brother of Doug, announced with celebration that Howard County would now be providing health care to all citizens, regardless of their insurance coverage. Governor O’Malley spoke to audience and extolled the virtues of the UCF and also of the need for more comprehensive health care initiatives, one of his successes in Maryland.
The pinnacle of the evening was, of course, a speech by Lance Armstrong. He and the UCF founder, Doug, have known each other for ten years when both of them were fighting and surviving their own cancer battles. Lance was articulate, passionate, funny, and thoughtful. He spoke as though he were speaking to around the dinner table, rather than to 1000+ paying guests and dignitaries. Yes, he has spoken in front of large audiences and cameras for a long time, but he is not a glossed over talking head. He has learned everything that he possible needs to know about cancer so that he can use his celebrity for good. He is not interested in selling his brand of cycling gear, or doing a bunch of for-profit commercials. He wants a cure for cancer. He wants those fighting cancer and those who have survived to be supported. His short fifteen minute speech was enough to make me a believer in his cause and proud to have shared a space with him.