by Doug Ulman
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.”
“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.
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.