This weekend we are excited to bring 1,000 current and potential leaders to the LIVESTRONG Summit at the Ohio State University. These leaders have been selected from across the country because they care about cancer issues and are willing to champion the cause in their communities. They will be inspired and empowered by renowned keynote speakers and hands-on training sessions, so they can return to their communities with the necessary tools to support the Foundation’s efforts to make cancer a national priority.

And just because you are not in Ohio this weekend, doesn’t mean you can’t participate. Throughout the weekend, LAF staff member Brian Howe will be blogging live from the summit, capturing the sights and the sounds. So check back often to see what is happening.

We also will be offering a live video stream of the keynote speakers (note this is not a video on demand option it will start and stop live as it happens). A few minutes before each event starts, we will update the blog with the appropriate link to see the stream.

Keynote Speaker schedule (All times Eastern):

Thursday July 24 @ 6:30 PM

LIVESTRONG Presidential Town Hall on Cancer w/ Senator John McCain. This event will be co-hosted by Lance Armstrong and Paula Zahn.

Friday July 25 @ 8:30 AM

Dr. Richard Carmona, 17th Surgeon’s General of the United States

Friday July 25 @ 4:30 PM

Dr. Harold Freeman, President and Founder of the Ralph Lauren Cancer Center in Harlem

Saturday July 26 @ 8:30 AM

Stefanie Spielman, Founder of Stefanie Spielman Breast Cancer Fund and three-time cancer survivor

Sunday July 27 @ 10:15 AM

A panel discussion: Dr. E. Gordon Gee, The Ohio State University; Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN; Dr. Bernadine Healy, U.S. News and World Report


  1. Jim Walton says:

    I cant believe that Obama would turn down and invitation when Cancer effects everyone and does not discriminate.

    kind makes me wonder what side he is really on.

    Im sorry but if he cant support this cause then Im afraid I cant support his.

  2. Melanie says:

    It is a shame Sen. Obama declined to be a part of this. Cancer has impacted his life in a very personal way and we need to be waging a war against it just like AIDS. Koodos for Sen. McCain for taking part in this – This may just determine where my vote will be going this fall.

  3. Thomas Hart says:

    Senator McCain needs to be respectfully challenged, with an insistence for specific answers regarding the following:

    His emphasis on reducing medical costs can only be accomplished by disenfranchising those of us who have (expensive) pre-existing and/or chronic conditions.

    His counterstatements that care for those with pre-existing and chronic conditions can be dealt with through federal/state/insurer partnerships can only mean a Medicare outsourcing program like Maryland’s where less than minimal treatment is provided by lowest bidders.

    His references to managed care being based on keeping subscribers healthy is a mantra heard 25 years ago when insurers were lobbying congress for “Health Maintenance Organizations” … a term that was quickly changed to “Health Management Organizations” as soon as enabling legislation was passed.

    His proposal that employer-based, group-rate, shared-risk health insurance will be replaced by individual coverage much like car insurance is nothing more than a profitability guarantee for insurers … at the expense of older, higher risk people who tend to have more pre-existing and chronic conditions which would be cause for denial or exorbitant rates.

    He needs to be asked if government insulation from risk for the managed care industry will be accompanied by the removal of civil litigation and other statutory protections that they currently enjoy because of being in a risk business.

    In general, his $2,500 tax credit proposal would only benefit those in their 20’s with perfect health. For those with pre-existing or chronic conditions, it MIGHT pay for one or two months of individual coverage premiums … if the individual were lucky enough to find coverage at all.

    Senator McCain should also be challenged on the Fair-Issac corporation’s ‘secret study’ being conducted for the managed care industry regarding use of credit information for individual health insurance denial and/or for charging exorbitant individual rates (as is already being done with property casualty insurances) … a subject that can only have a devastating impact on pre-existing and chronic condition individuals who have often found themselves in difficult medical AND financial conditions.

    His references to America’s need for wellness and fitness are generally correct … but, as those of us in the cycling and other sports communities know all too well, wellness and fitness will not prevent cancer … as demonstrated by the recent lymphoma death of international sailor Mark Rudiger … and that of the physically fit Tony Snow.

    I personally was a ‘poster child’ for fitness and wellness having ridden 1,210 miles at age 59 during 2006 … right up to weeks before a huge lymphoma mass was discovered in my right lung. I was back on my bike during my 2007 treatment … and rode in the 2007 LIVESTRONG Challenge … as I am again this year … but know that it will have minimal or NO effect on the possibility of recurrence.

    In short, it is my opinion that Senator McCain’s ‘Plan’ is nothing more than ‘smoke and mirrors’ for which he is reciting the managed care industry lobby.

    At the risk of sounding cynical … the ONLY way the managed care industry can seriously cut costs is to deny coverage to those with pre-existing and chronic condition Americans. Simple logic dictates that cost reduction increases as the number of Americans facing cancer with undetected and untreated conditions also increases.

    For background, I am a life-long Republican and Navy veteran who has generally voted the ‘party line’ … but will not blindly follow Senator McCain down this ‘path of medical destruction.’

    In my opinion, Senator McCain’s ‘plan’ to individualize managed care insurance is headed in completely the wrong direction … when it SHOULD be encouraging employers to provide group rate, shared risk health insurance with meaningful tax credits for doing so.

    The United States has ALWAYS maintained that we do not need a government owned and operated health care system because of the strength of our employer-based system. The destruction of that system can only result in giving the American public the WORST of both worlds.

    I lived and worked in Canada for 20 years. For all its faults, Canada’s provincial system would be FAR superior for the average American than Senator McCain’s proposal.

    Thank you … and please don’t be afraid to ask him the hard questions. Those questions can’t be any harder than hearing the words “You have cancer.”

  4. James says:

    Hmmm Obama too busy to attend. Wasn’t going to vote for him before and this is just another reason not to going forward. Cancer touches so many of our families as well as mine and he’s too busy to care…go figure.

  5. Stephen says:

    It’s a pretty good Mcsame angle Doug Ulman takes in saying that Obama declined the town hall meeting and didn’t bother to mention that he isn’t even in country. I have supported LAF since 2004, 3 years before I was diagnosed with stage three colon cancer and all the fun associated with same. It now becomes apparent that Armstrong is as political as any other group. I have always voted Republican (age 59) but not this time and LAF will be hard pressed to get another donation from me.

  6. Eileen says:

    Very disappointed that Obama declined to discuss his thoughts/plan about preventing and curing cancer which affects every single person I know in one way or another. I WAS a big fan of his. But if he doesn’t engage in this conversation and articulate a national vision for my future, he’s certainly not getting my vote.
    Thank you to LAF for challenging the candidates and for advocating on my behalf.

  7. Emily says:

    Another event that may be of interest is The Cancer Project’s Cancer and Nutrition Symposium in DC this August. The focus of the event is on preventive measures, particularly changes in diet, that reduce the risk of cancer. Amazing speakers will be sharing their breakthrough research on key issues in food and cancer. The LAF has worked with The Cancer Project in the past, making the organization a part of the Stories of Impact video and sponsoring their Nutrition classes. You can learn more about the event by going to

  8. Rosemary says:

    I know Obama’s absence seems disrespectful, but political candidates have to juggle too many balls all through their campaign. I am not trying to make excuses and don’t know who I will vote for, but McCain’s plan scares me. Those of us who did everything we were supposed to do and ended up with cancer and cancer treatment related health issues anyway know that there is only so much that prevention can do and how expensive treatment for any major illness is no matter how good your insurance is.
    Whoever is elected, we need to let Senators and Congressmen know what our priorities are. Thank goodness the president does not make those decisions alone.

  9. Steve says:

    Tom makes some good points, but both candidates are likely partly or wholly “owned” by the health care industry.

    I don’t think Obama blithely brushed off the invitation – he might have had earlier commitments.

    I’d like to see a proposal for government-sponsored life insurance. If my employer didn’t offer any (or if I lost my job for some reason), I’d be un-insurable until 2011 due to my cancer surgery in 2006.

    I’d also like to see wider publicity regarding testicular cancer in particular. It’s often only mentioned as an off-color joke, but it’s no laughing matter for a young man to have to choose between letting the cancer kill you but dying “a man” or having surgery and coping with the resulting drastic changes.

  10. Deborah says:

    When everyone going to realize what Lance said last year, every day is 911 in the US with people dying from this dreadful disease.

    The terrorist is at each and every one of our doors. I would venture to say that if we asked every military person if they would rather wage war in Irag or save their own wife, husband, daugters, son, mother, father from this end, i.e. cancer, they would vote to find a cure for cancer, not to go on with this war. Let’s get back to saving lives at home. I respect and have faith in John McCain to do that.

  11. We have received a few comments about our town hall this week and wanted to provide a little more information.

    As a 501c3 non-profit organization, we are non-partisan, do not endorse candidates and offer equal opportunities for them to talk to our members about their plans to combat cancer.

    Our goal is to provide a forum for our members and the voters to hear how candidates from both parties intend to fight this disease, soon to be the #1 killer in America. Cancer is a non-partisian issue and we will need both sides of the aisle to help us reach our goals of eradicating suffering and death due to cancer.

    Last year we hosted the LIVESTRONG Presidential Cancer Forum and were excited that Senators Clinton, Edwards and Brownback, Governors Richardson and Huckabee, and Representative Kucinich attended and discussed their positions and strategies for fighting this disease.

    Following that event last August, as we began planning many months ago for our Summit this week, we asked both presumptive nominees to attend and address our constituents and the millions of people who are affected by this disease.

    Senator McCain accepted our invitation several months ago and will address our audience on Thursday. Senator Obama, citing scheduling conflicts, had to unfortunately decline last week.

    We are excited that Senator McCain is taking this opportunity to address our membership and we look forward to hearing from Senator Obama before November 4th on his ideas and plans for how his administration would fight cancer.

    We very much appreciate the feedback and thoughts of our members. Please keep them coming!

  12. Pat Bradley says:

    I just received the notice about joining the Town Hall meeting. I am concerned about the implication in this announcement that Senator Obama does not care about the cancer issue. Simply saying that Obama declined to attend the Summit without mentioning that he has a previous commitment- his travel schedule (he is in the Middle East and then on to Germany) gives the impression that he does not wish to participate in this important event.

  13. Matt Janssen says:

    I too must voice my concern and fear about judging Obama so quickly because he is not attending this one event. There is nothing in the announcement I received that says whether Sen. Obama was not “able” to attend or whether he decided “not” to attend. I wouldn’t be so quick to cast those stones without more information at hand. As well, keep in mind that Sen. Obama has had some personal experience, as many of us have, with this horrible disease – his mother succumbed to Ovarian Cancer some years ago at a young age.

  14. Rachel B says:

    OK since when is it the president’s job to cure a disease? I don’t even understand why McCain is there other than to gain support from a pivotal swing state using a non-controversial topic: curing cancer.
    So whoever becomes the next president has to fix the economy, fix the war, fix foreign policies, fix global warming, fix government spending, and now cure cancer?
    Come on now, so long as he keeps funding the research, that’s all that matters. Let the scientist work on cancer & the politicians take care everything else.

  15. Peter Lamothe says:

    Unless you live under a rock, Obama is in the Middle East and the planning and coordination for that takes a LONG time. I too am sorry he cannot attend but to severely criticize him for “declining” the invitation is really unfair, borderline absurd.

  16. Lisa M. says:

    I agree that condemning Obama for his absence at the conference seems precipitous. Let’s see what he has to say before throwing stones. As an aside, there is so much at stake in this election, we all need to think long and hard about our choice and do our due diligence. While I have stage IV cancer, I’m not going to base my decision solely on the issue of health care. Neither should anyone else as far as I’m concerned. (I am 42, permanently disabled, penniless and bankrupt as a result of my disease. This disease however, does not and will not rule my entire life or my decision.) Let’s not forget, we need to think about what is best for the nation as a whole. Despite the fact that we live in the cancer world, we are still participants in the larger world too (whether we are made to feel that way or not).

  17. Diane M. says:

    My husband just died 2 months ago after 17 years of brain cancer. We have 4 children. He did EVERYTHING in his power, and the power of all those in the medical field, and still he died after a brutal battle. I am very interested in what both candidates have to say about cancer care…receiving word that you have brain cancer today leaves you at about the same place it left my husband 17 years ago…stay alive until treatment catches up…and it hasn’t,

  18. betty says:

    I think your announcement should have included the reason Sen. Obama could not attend your event. I did see him on the news last night in Israel so I am guessing he had previous commitments or travel difficulty. I am glad to see that Jeff did partiallly address this fact but only after many negative comments about the Senator. Cancer doesn’t discriminate and neither should you.

  19. Sara says:

    I see that almost everyone is picking on Senator Obama because he couldn’t make the event. While your complaining about him not attending, did you ever think about where he is instead of attending the summit? No, some of you didn’t because you forgot that he is out there in the middle east trying to find a way to resolve the issues there that influence the lives of so many people in the US. One big thing being GAS!! I don’t care how much of a republican some people care to be gas prices aren’t discriminating against people either.

    And with increasing gas prices, comes an increase in daily living especially in a task as simple as trying to feed your family. Don’t knock the man for trying to build something with a country that your current president decided to take war upon simply because he decided he needed to stick up for his father and fight a battle that wasn’t necessary.

    I will never understand why the US president feel as though we should always bully our way into another country simply because their way of living don’t meet up to our standards. With all the homeless and proverty stricken people in his own country bush has yet to think of a solution for the problems that exist within his own country instead of those overseas.

  20. Richard says:

    I just found out about this activity and would have liked to participate.

    I am a breast cancer survivor and very interested in becoming an advocate for the males who get this disease.

    I hope you will keep me in mind for the next events you have that can teach me more of how to be active in the research on cancer.

    I have found so far that there does not seem to be any ongoing research into this area as there are so few of us, 2000 per year. But the mortality rate is about 25% because the cancer in men is found in it’s later stages.

    Hope the conference goes well. And everyone, leave the politics out of it. It is too important an issue to worry about who attends and who doesn’t.

  21. John says:

    I echo the seniment that the way you presented the news that John Mccain accepting and Obama refusing was misleading.

    I live in Columbus Ohio and at least our local newspaper put the reason why Obama would not be present.

    I have locally advanced prostate cancer andI volunteered for the summit and was invited to the presidential town hall meeting.

    Our local news last night said that Lance Armstrong supported John McCain and McCain was asked about him announcing his vice president candidate at the affair. He would not comment but would not say he would or not. I just hope this is not just a campaign for John McCain.

    I guess I will see firsthand tonight.

  22. Van says:

    Obama is a no show anytime he can’t ask the questions he must answer live. He is speaking today in Berlin, and cancelling visits to hospitalized servicemen in Germany. Barak Husien Obama is not a friend of cancer survivors not a friend of the USA.

  23. GD says:

    I don’t understand why saying that Obama declined is such a contentious issue. The LAF is stating a fact, that he is not there, period.

    For me, it’s about priorities. Obama is giving a speech to 200,000 citizens of a country that is not the USA. For some reason campaigning in Europe is more important than this and probably many other things he could be doing here. McCain is staying here dealing with issues that we are facing in this country.

  24. Brian says:

    Obama isn’t at the summit because he’s overseas. He’s trying to restore some faith to the rest of the world that has been lost over the last 8 years. It?¢?Ǩ?Ñ¢s ridiculous to say that because he can’t make the summit that he’s against cancer research and helping survivors. His mother died of cancer…you really think he wouldn’t do everything in his power as president to cure the disease that took his mother from him? Try learning something about the guy before posting comments that have no insight into the person you’re ridiculing.

  25. Leonard says:

    I can understand the criticism of Senator Obama not attending the Livestrong Summit, but to automatically conclude that because McCain showed up at the event that he is the candidate that will stand up to fight cancer is absurd.

    Lance’s fight is bipartisan for a reason. His speeches on the Hill and these summits still continue because our current government refuses to truly address cancer as an issue.

    Look at the healthcare plans of both candidates before you decide who to elect.

  26. Ken Copithorne DDS says:

    Like John McCain, I am a cancer survivor (prostate cancer surgery two years ago). I wear my livestrong bracelet every day and have a clean bill of health so far. Good for Senator McCain to be there for you- Senator Obama is just too busy with his foreign photo-op and also too busy to visit opur wounded soldiers. So much for compassion. Guess who I will vote for in November.

  27. Thomas Hart says:

    I agree that we should be discussing Senator McCain’s plan on its merits … and reserve discussion of Senator Obama until he presents his plan.

    I appreciate Senator McCain’s position that he would increase National Cancer Institute funding … but can’t predict how much until faced with a complete federal budget.

    I was upset by the lame way he tried to dodge Paula Zahn’s pressure about resisting an increase in federal tobacco taxes for designated specific uses like increasing National Cancer Institute funding.

    His plan to create a ‘risk pool’ for those of us with pre-existing and/or chronic conditions (often both with the after-effects of aggressive treatments) was an admission that he would relegate us to second-class citizen status.

    His reference to a ‘federal, state and industry partnership’ was nothing more than a reference to the substandard care and denial already faced by Medicaid recipients in states like Maryland in which mdical coverage for the uninsurable is outsourced to low bidders so that the federal and state partners can claim to have done “something.”

    This is NOT acceptable to this Republican Navy veteran with chronic respiratory problems from my aggressive Stage III/IV Lymphoma treatments a year ago.

    Regardless … its time for this 61-year old to take a 50-mile bike ride before it gets too hot. I am doing everyting I can for my fitness, health and wellness … and GREATLY resent Senator McCain’s efforts to relegate me to the ranks of uninsured second-class citizenship.

  28. Magilla says:

    I don’t care any more about what elected official shows up at a conference and gives a speech.

    It is better in my opinion that instead we see action instead of promises. The water, the air, the land, the food and other products contain toxic chemicals. It is no surprise to me as a firefighter how many of my fellow co-workers are coming down with cancers. All the things in our homes and working structures are filled with products that contain toxic chemicals. Fires turn these things into toxic smoke that trigger cancers.

    To the issue talk in cheap but millions of Americans have no health care and the poor and working classes are least likely to have early detection of cancer and are most prone to exposure to cancerous substances.

    The stress placed on the least wealthy in our country is another factor that makes the poor and the working classes more prone to cancer and other disease.

    We need compassionate leaders who place the lives of people ahead of the interests of multi national corporations and businesses that are poor stewards of the national resources they make use of.

    As it is today in the USA the dollar sign might aas well be o our flag instead of the stars and stripes.

    Show us FDR legislation and change now. People are dying from idle promises.

  29. Tracy says:

    I agree that Senator Obama shouldn’t necessarily be judged poorly simply for not attending this one event, but the questions about his absence are valid, considering how far ahead of time this event was planned (surely well before his Mideast trip). Also, he was the only candidate who failed to attend the AARP’s Democratic health-care debate during the primaries, opting instead to do campaign events. Of course this doesn’t mean he doesn’t care about these issues, but it is fair to question how high they would rank in his priorities as President.

    I have the sense his campaign assumes that we’ll just accept that now that Hillary is out of the picture, Obama, as the Democrat, is naturally the better candidate (as opposed to the Republican) on health care issues. It is important Obama’s campaign realize that he needs to make the effort to show health care issues are not only important to him, but that he has the better plan to address them. Otherwise, he leaves himself open to a Republican, John McCain, who isn’t afraid to address these issues with directness and candor.

    I attended the Republican AARP health care forum last fall, when only two Rep. candidates showed up — McCain being one. Obama needs to show he has the same willingness and ability to address these issues head on. Even though I don’t agree with much of McCain’s plan, I respect him for continually “showing up” on these issues, and suspect other voters will, too.

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