Lance Armstrong introduced himself as a cancer survivor and a seven-time Tour de France champion in his first public appearance since backing away from a fight with the US Anti-Doping Agency.
At the World Cancer Congress today in Montreal, Armstrong used the keynote address to announce his Livestrong Foundation’s $500,000 contribution to the Union for International Cancer Control.
To begin the speech, he referenced his very public battles – with cancer and the USADA.
“My name is Lance Armstrong. I am a cancer survivor. I’m a father of five. And yes, I won the Tour de France seven times,” he said, The Canadian Press reported.
USADA stripped him of his Tour de France titles, wiped 14 years of his career from the record books and banned him from cycling Friday based on allegations of doping despite the fact Armstrong has never tested positive.
After first launching a court challenge, the 41-year-old Texan announced last Thursday that he was ending his battle with USADA.
While many might view Armstrong’s amazing accomplishments with a jaundiced eye, cancer survivors continue to hold him in high regard.
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“To me Lance Armstrong is an inspiration,” conference speaker and cancer survivor Sarah Cook said in Montreal. “He’s a kind, generous man who has devoted years of his life to fighting this awful disease.”
USADA’s decision hasn’t negatively affected donations to Livestrong, either.
After the agency announced it had stripped him of the titles, donations nearly doubled to more than $60,000 from the day before.
Individual donors climbed to 937 from 313, The Associated Press reported.
“The foundation was grateful to be overwhelmed by an outpouring of support in the last few days,” Livestrong CEO Doug Ulman said in a statement. “The number of spontaneous donations and messages of solidarity from partners and supporters were amazing.”
The World Cancer Congress ends Friday.
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