Disappointed in its founder yet grateful for his devotion to the cause, the Livestrong Foundation issued a statement last night in response to Lance Armstrong’s admissions of doping and using performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) during his epic cycling career.
“We at the LIVESTRONG Foundation are disappointed by the news that Lance Armstrong misled people during and after his cycling career, including us. Earlier this week, Lance apologized to our staff and we accepted his apology in order to move on and chart a strong, independent course. We look forward to devoting our full energy to our mission of helping people not only fight and survive cancer, but also thrive in life after cancer.”
The disgraced former cycling champion cyclist admitted to doping and PEDs in an interview with Oprah Winfrey that aired last night, and is scheduled to conclude tonight. He founded the charity in 1997 after being diagnosed with, and ultimately defeating, testicular cancer.
The Austin, Texas-based charity took off after the ubiquitous yellow Livestrong bracelets became a fundraising and charity phenomenon in 2004. It has since shifted gears and become a big player in licensing and cause marketing, generating total revenue of $48 million last year.
The 243-word statement continued: “Even in the wake of our disappointment, we also express our gratitude to Lance as a survivor for the drive, devotion and spirit he brought to serving cancer patients and the entire cancer community. Lance is no longer on the foundation’s board, but he is our founder and we will always be grateful to him for creating and helping to build a foundation that has served millions struggling with cancer.”
Armstrong stepped down as chairman of the board in October, resigning from the board altogether by November. At the same time, the $48-million charity officially changed its name from the Lance Armstrong Foundation to the Livestrong Foundation.
“Our success has never been based on one person – it’s based on the patients and survivors we serve every day, who approach a cancer diagnosis with hope, courage and perseverance.”
Earlier this week, the Livestrong name was removed from Sporting Park in Kansas City, Kan. A six-year, $7.5-million naming deal with the Major League Soccer (MLS) stadium was terminated although both sides indicated the decision was made on their end.