JETBLUE and a Shout Out to an Inspiring Young Man

by

Last Thursday Lance and I flew back from New York City on JETBLUE and I just have to tell you about our journey. We arrived an hour before our flight and while we waited in the boarding gate area I noticed the usual whispers and stares.

“That’s Lance Armstrong.”

“Where?”

“Over there with the hat on.”

Typical stuff. Then it all changed.

As we stood, waiting for our row to be called, one woman approached and said “Lance, I just wanted to say thank you. You were an inspiration to my mom before she passed away.”

These types of comments just kind of leave you speechless. And we were other than to say “thank you so much” and smile.

After we were seated in our seats another passenger approached. She said “Lance, thanks for all that you do. My brother read your book and kept a photo next to his bed before he died of cancer.”

Once again, we were speechless other than to thank this young woman for her kind words.

Several hours into the flight, our very hospitable flight attendant approached and told us that she had a brain tumor fifteen years ago, she had read Lance’s book, and that she was a member of the LIVESTRONG Army.

Later in the flight, the other young female flight attendant approached with a strange question. She asked me what team won the fundraising competition at the LIVESTRONG Challenge Austin last fall. I thought for a minute and said, “Team Toi.”

She said, “oh yeah, Team Toi!”

I looked at her fairly confused as she proceeded to explain that last fall she worked the Austin to New York leg on JetBlue the Monday morning following the Challenge in Austin. She said that Team Toi, dressed in black of course, was still celebrating their weekend and she said it was a great flight to be a part of.

As someone who is mortified of flying and who can’t usually concentrate on anything while in the air, I can tell you that I was so inspired by our fellow passengers and what the flight attendants had to say that I sat there totally focused on our impact and also our need to fight this battle. The mission of our work affects us all. Let’s fight on so that we don’t hear as many comments about losing family members in the future. We owe it to our loved ones.

Notes

I am in LA this week to meet with our partners at the X Prize Foundation about our upcoming cancer X Prize. There are few things that get me as excited about our mission and work as the X Prize. I can’t wait to share more information in the coming weeks.

Lastly, My thoughts and prayers go out to Jimmy Fowlkes who is one of most amazing young men I have ever met. He is a survivor who is awaiting test results on a possible recurrence. He is an inspiring individual who has not only raised large sums of money for the LAF but who has taught so many people what it means to LIVESTRONG. Best wishes to his little sister Molly, and his parents Margo and Dan whom I have come to know well. They are truly part of the family and as I told Dan over the weekend, the entire LIVESTRONG Army stands ready to help.

16 thoughts on “JETBLUE and a Shout Out to an Inspiring Young Man”

  1. Brian Dowd says:

    Thanks for sharing this Doug! The LAF has done so much for so many! It is not only Lance, but you and the entire LAF staff. You inspire millions to make a change.

    LIVESTRONG!

  2. Scott Joy says:

    Thanks for all you do — and help us to do. The LIVESTRONG Army is also the LIVESTRONG Family. Hang in there, Jimmy; we’re with you.

  3. Dale says:

    Doug, we are having the anual cabin fever ride in wamego Ks, about 178riders, we are tring to have enough money to make a 12 mile trail between Wamego and Manhattan(Ksu)would love to have Lance come and ride with us it would help out alot for the fund raising.Its in march. letus know. Dale

  4. Michelle "FlyGirl" says:

    Thank you for what both you and Lance do. Reading Lance’s book changed my life and gave me courage to deal with difficulty. He inspired me and thank you for your hard work with LIVESTRONG Army. Both of you made my day!

  5. Nick Feola says:

    For the first time riding in Ragbria on team LIVESTRONG. I am so excited.
    Thanks for all you guys stand for!! I am proud to be part of your efforts.

    Nick

  6. Kathy Smith says:

    I can’t imagine the attention the two of you draw on a cross country flight….
    I was flying to DC a couple months ago and had on a Long Sleeve LiveStrong T. A man came up to me and told me his families story and talked for the entire flight about how comforting it was for the family to know they were not fighting this battle alone. He talked about how he carried his, now tatered, Survivorship binder to and from the hospital with his little girl everyday. He was so excited to know that LieStrong was more than just yellow braclets. I ended up giving him the shirt
    (Thankfully I live in NH and I am always layered up). As I walked off the plane I was approached by a young women probably in her mid 20s who had herd us talking. She simply smiled at me and said ” I bought the big bottle of shampoo last week”. Victory!! The stories and the connections are what keep me going….

  7. Ian Devan says:

    Jimmy, for sure we are all ready and waiting with you, as Lance said before the 06 ride in Portland, you have to fulfil your future role as govenor of Oregon someday, its your destiny.
    Ian.D Uk Austin brit

  8. Brad Kelley says:

    I would like to thank both you and Lance for everything you have done to inspire me and everyone else that is battling cancer and all of those who have loved ones fighting cancer. I have been battling testicular cancer since July and I go in surgery tomorrow at Vanderbilt Hospital for a retroperitoneal lymph node dissection. Please continue to inspire people because LIVESTRONG has played a huge part in my life to continue to fight and to enjoy living life as a cancer patient.

    Brad

  9. Brian Dowd says:

    Brad, I am also a TC survivor. Please keep us posted on your progress. I hope you have a speedy recovery.

    LIVESTRONG!

  10. Matt McNelley says:

    If I’m not mistaken, Jimmy Fowlkes was the speaker that stole the show at the Portland Challenge dinner. We will send positive energy his way.

    Reference the Tour of CA, where are you going to be for the event? I would like to say hello. My partner for the Portland event was Ryan T. the trumphet player. I have an offer for you that might help with your flying issues.

  11. Ian Devan says:

    Hey Matt, you are correct about Jimmy at the 07 challenge dinner, also that trumpet player in the RAIN before the start, wow the memories we all have, those of us who were there ? just shows how all of “the army” can take positives from such a grim but memorable ride.
    Ian.D UK Austin brit

  12. Matt–

    The LAF will be at the Tour of California this weekend. We will be at the expo at the finish lines each day. For information about start times and maps, please go to http://www.amgentourofcalifornia.com. Say howdy to my fellow LAF staff members for me! Sign up for the LIVESTRONG Challenge while you are there too! We will be back in Cali this July for LIVESTRONG Challenge San Jose. See you there.
    http://www.livestrongchallenge.org.

  13. Matt McNelley says:

    Brooke-

    Thanks. We are heading up to Santa Rosa for the finish on Monday. I’ll say hi to Colleen for you and I plan on signing up for the San Jose Challenge. We are so happy that there is a CA ride this year. I have a feeling we have spoke or emailed back and forth before. Do you remember a story about tattoo ink and melanoma?

  14. Lee Ann Alexander says:

    I had the wonderful privilege of being at Texas Oncology when Lance visited a couple of weeks ago. I’ve never seen anything like it. He walked into the infusion room, and you could just see people’s spirits lift. I went back today, and the staff told me that one of the patients has blown up her picture with Lance and is carrying it around with her and showing it to everyone. I know how she feels — I did the same thing. I’ll never forgot seeing the look in each patient’s eyes as Lance sat and talked and made them feel cared about and like they, too, could beat this ugly thing and LIVESTRONG. These posted comments show that what happened on your plane ride experience happens every day in countless places. It matters so much.
    Thanks for all you do.

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