Thursday, January 11, 2007
Lance's fire burns bright
When we asked Lance Armstrong to write a column about cancer , most people here at CNN had no idea how it would explode. But, I did. You see, I know Lance Armstrong. I have sat down with him and seen firsthand his passion for this war on cancer. It burns. He and the president of his foundation, Doug Ulman, a three-time cancer survivor himself, will never accept defeat in this battle. Never.
All day long, it was among the most viewed pages on CNN.com. It showed just how much our viewers care about this issue. In a day filled with stories about Iraq and a presidential address, Lance and his vengeance toward cancer captured attention. More than 1 million people read his column, and hundreds sent responses. They shared stories of support and stories of victory over what cancer survivors call "the beast." They also shared stories of defeat that make you want to cry.
Lance has already heard many of your stories. Because of them, he doesn't sleep much. As he admits, he is not a patient man. Instead, he is busying himself directly calling political leaders and reminding them that 1,500 people will die of cancer today, and tomorrow, and the next day. He is reminding them that the National Cancer Institute cut spending $40 million dollars between 2005 and 2006, and may cut funding again this year. He is reminding them that we can save unimaginable amounts of money if we just spend a little more now. Case in point: colon cancer. Caught early, the cost is around $2,000. Caught late, and the costs balloon to $250,000, not to mention the aggressive and debilitating treatment. It makes sense, medically and financially to offer these screenings to everyone, regardless of cost.
Lance is undoubtedly the most famous cancer survivor in the world. His story of how he was given a coin flip's chance of survival from cancer that had spread to his lung and to his brain is legendary. He didn't accept defeat and he went on to beat cancer and then beat the world's best athletes seven years in a row. Now, he has everyone's cancer squarely in his crosshairs. You should feel better because he does.
Join our discussion here, or go to CNN.com/Savingyourlife, where you can get much more information on cancer and hear from cancer survivors or send us an I-Report with your own story. And be sure to watch Lance and me on CNN's "Saving Your Life" special, Saturday and Sunday at 8 p.m. E.T.
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