It’s time to hit the road once again, you’ll recall the last time it was to visit our great troops serving overseas as I accompanied Miss USA, Kid Rock, Lewis Black and Robin Williams on an amazing pre-Christmas tour. This time I’m heading out with a few more close friends, namely the entire staff of the Lance Armstrong Foundation, to New Orleans for a couple of very worthy causes.
First off it’s a bitter-sweet trip for me as, after two tours on the President’s Cancer Panel, I’ll be attending my last meeting on January 28th in New Orleans. I’ve been honored to have accompanied Drs. LaSalle Leffall, Margaret Kripke, and Abby Sandler on many trips across our great country, and I’d like to thank President Bush for giving us this very important opportunity. Hearing the stories of dozens of cancer survivors has truly galvanized all of us on the panel to press on even harder in the fight against this terrible disease. If you’d like to come to this final event it’s open to the public and starts at 8am at the Chateau Sonesta Hotel in the French Quarter.
It’s fitting, in a way, that New Orleans is where I end my tenure on the PCP. I am very proud of the fact that our Foundation has a strong record of contributing to cancer survivorship in the Gulf Coast area following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Four days following the landfall of the first hurricane, the LAF announced its commitment of $500,000 to help cancer survivors affected by Katrina get immediate assistance with their basic needs and healthcare. We received 32 proposals for assistance and over the next six weeks the LAF awarded almost $600,000 to 17 different organizations in 9 states. As a result of the LAF’s contributions, more than 1,100 cancer survivors found the funds for food, temporary housing, transportation, utilities and the general necessities of life.
And now we’re going to take it up a notch as I join 60+ members of our staff and Board to work on several Habitat for Humanity projects to provide hands-on assistance to cancer survivors in New Orleans. We’ll be working for two days to help relocate New Orleans area families who have faced the twin challenges of fighting cancer and displacement by Hurricane Katrina, a very worthy cause indeed.
And finally we’ll get a chance to thank some local New Orleans residents who are directly helping us in our fight against cancer. The “Tour de Lis” bike ride, an LAF grassroots event consisting of a 4-hour 9-mile loop along the southern edge of Lake Pontchartrain, will be held the morning of Saturday, April 12th. In particular I want to thank superdome manager Doug Thornton as well as Carol and Harold Asher for all they’ve done for us, and especially send my best wishes to the Asher’s cousin Josh Lipshultz, their inspiration for this event – who is battling brain cancer. If you’d like to find out more about this event, check out www.tourdelis.com. At its core the Lance Armstrong Foundation is a grassroots organization and it’s folks like these who get it done.
That’s all for now, talk to you soon, Lance.