Mountain Climbs: An Open Letter


We are entering the final push in the TDF. It’s been tough but fantastic being here, again, supporting the team and competing with the world’s best riders. And throughout it, I’ve seen something amazing: overwhelming support for making cancer a global priority.

Throughout the Tour, our great friends at Nike have been doing brilliantly creative work to support the spirit of the LIVESTRONG Global Cancer Campaign. LIVESTRONG gear is everywhere, the Nike Chalkbot is spreading the Hope Rides Again word and proceeds from the Nike Stages art project are fueling attention to this cause.

The reporting and coverage I’ve caught glimpses of are tremendous, too. Many people still don’t seem to know that cancer will be the leading cause of death globally by next year. Hopefully, our efforts throughout this season and throughout this campaign will help raise awareness of this rapidly expanding global health crisis.

Already, so many people are thoroughly engaged in building a global grassroots movement. Survivors all over the world face tough challenges, and the enthusiasm of our delegates participating in the LIVESTRONG Global Cancer Summit is exciting. More than 300 advocates from 65 countries will gather in Dublin next month with 500 attendees in total, all with the goal of spurring progress against this disease. Looking forward to that has been, for me, a highlight in recent weeks.

And throughout 2009 and this Tour, I’ve been inspired by the tenacity of U.S. Senator Edward M. Kennedy. His recent reflections in Newsweek make clear that social justice must be the underlying principle for healthcare reform, an idea LIVESTRONG seeks to embody, just as he has throughout his career. And there’s a lot of reform that needs to happen. Despite the fact that the U.S. spends more than any other industrialized country on health care, we do not achieve better outcomes on leading health indicators like infant mortality and average life span. Too many Americans live without health insurance (and I was once a member of that club). Too many people don’t have access to care. It’s simply inexcusable.

I know mountain climbs pretty well. What President Obama and others are encouraging in the United States with healthcare is a tough climb ? no doubt. To Senator Kennedy’s point, though, we have a chance right now to initiate a major shift in our healthcare system. If we succeed in making a significant and substantial change, it will be the first in three generations. It is the common expectation in many countries that every citizen should have access to quality, affordable healthcare, part of a moral investment in social justice. Why not in the United States as well?

While LIVESTRONG works to create change by shining a spotlight on the 28 million survivors across the world, we will not make true progress until we have systems globally that put people first.

In Dublin next month, LIVESTRONG will unite in seeking solutions, in abandoning what we know no longer works and by building the political will for significant progress. The common expectation of social justice through health, across all borders, is a mountain worth climbing.

To join our efforts to fight cancer globally, visit LIVESTRONG Action.


  1. Fraser Smith says:

    Dear Lance:

    Those of us who are over 40, 50 ,60, and are suffering through terrible financial times, are thrilled by your efforts of the last two days. As are our freinds who are fighting various forms of cancer, including pancreatic, and are also watching you with great intensity.

    I must say that in watching the wonderful team role you have played, and the amazing “catch up” strength you have shown, it is obvious your only true competitor this year is your team mate Contador, and with your stamina, intelligence and race experience, you are the best there! You have done more work then he and I hope you do well in the time trial tomorrow and blow everyone’s doors off on Friday.

    We want you to do it for yourself and the wonderful work it will help you do for cancer recerch. But most of the rest of us would get a great boost to our day to day morale when you do what we all know you can do. Go for it! We are all with you.


  2. Lizet says:

    Hello Lance,

    While our healthcare system is in need of efficiency reforms, we need to be cautious of how we implement those changes. I dont agree with the current plan proposed by President Obama. It is simply too costly! There are definite efficiencies to be achieved from our current health care system that will generate significant savings to implement the changes needed.

    The size and population of the US does not allow us to ease into a system as Europe or Canada have (which by the way it is not optimal either). Based on sound planning, a good place to start is to see how efficiencies in the current system can be gained: how can we improve preventive care, how our contracting process can be optimized, what additional controls can be put in place and particularly how our biddging for services can be improved to reduce costs.

    YES, we do need to make changes, but let’s please not rush into passing a healthcare reform bill that we cannot afford. The US has the highest effective tax rate in the world. We CANNOT AND SHOULD NOT HAVE TO PAY MORE TAXES THAN WE CURRENTLY DO AND OUR CHILDREN SHOULD NOT HAVE TO PAY FOR THE MISTAKES OF OUR GENERATION.

    BTW, my family and I are enormous fans of yours. I would not have taken the time to comment unless I admired you as an athlete, professional and for your tenacity in your work to fight cancer. I am on your team and, yes, healthcare reform is needed. Let?s evaluate and consider alternatives. No plan is perfect on its first draft! I hate to have career politicians continue to make more decisions that are not fully evaluated, only to realize later the additional burden placed on the American people. How are our children going to pay for all of the stimulus and ramped government spend?

  3. Allan Conner says:

    You, no doubt, are a Champ! But who is going to pay for this plan?

  4. Ben Allott says:


    I’m from the UK originally but now live in florida and formerly San Francisco for 8 years. I bought my first real road bike in 2004 the day of your TDF victory. Inspired by you, I have now completed 3 centuries and am now, like you, back on my bike again after a while out of the saddle. I enjoyed riding mount Tampalais in California and although the hills are non existant here in FL the heat is a definite factor.

    Conicidentally, having gotten my bike out again recently from watching you in the 2009 TDF I learned just the other day that Mum in England has been diagnosed with breast cancer for the second time. She was diagnosed 20 years ago and had a mastectomy back then. On Monday of this week she enetered a UK hostpital for treatment on the National Health Service. The operation is complete, but many tests will follow and we are all staying positive. To me, your story is an inspiration, a way to cope, hope, and keep moving forward. To my Mum, who is not a bike rider, you mean the same. She has read all you books in the years past. She is fighting for her life now and I KNOW that you are helping her as much as you are helping me. You are so right ….It’s not about the bike.

    Your so right to support a national health care programme. We have this is the UK and its a godsend. In my opinion, it’s a fundamental human right. I know there are flaws with the UK system but it comes down to treating people based on human needs not financial ability.

    Finally, I want to thank you. I’m sure you cannot realize how much you affect and inspire people. There must be thousands of people who think of Lance Armstrong when there is a need to dig deep in tackling cancer either directly or indirectly. Just the other days I said to my Mum how she needs to keep fighting and staying strong, “just like Lance”. She agreed.

    I’ll be on my bike tomorrow, and when I feel weak, tired or feel like giving up I know that is not an option, just like its not an option for you and my Mum.

    Keep on keeping on Lance and thanks again, from the bottom of my heart.



  5. David says:

    Been a fan of yours and LiveStrong for years. Thank you for being an inspiration on and off the bike. Good luck these next few days at the TDF. A cold beer is waiting for you back in Texas! You deserve it!

  6. bongi says:

    you also clearly have an amazing talent which is great to watch.

    i wish you all the best in the tdf as well as with all your wonderful cancer awareness work.

  7. Wilma Phillips says:

    Wonderful, inspiring letter to match wonderful, inspiring ride this year Lance. I get a lump in my throat watching you put in the Herculian efforts in the mountains. Very few people escape the devastating effects of cancer – either personally or thorugh losing family memebers, myself included. I’m fervently hoping that following your trip to Dublin in August there will be a UK web site set up for purchasing Livestrong gear.

  8. Mike says:


    A very big fan of yours and everything you do regarding the fight for cancer. As an Expat in France, I talk to many people who pay taxes in the range of 50-60% for the privilege of a National Health Care system – We can’t do it the same way. We need a better plan than what is on the board today.

    Good luck to today.

  9. Jan says:

    We have the healthcare system president Obama is dreaming of in France. I do not think our statistics are any better than in the US, and when you know this system is not only about to collapse but also threaten France economy as a whole, I would be careful before trying to mimic what we have here in France.

  10. Good luck on the tour Lance..
    Even though i’m way over here in Australia health care reform is a universal issue that needs to be addressed across all countries. As the United States is seen as such a huge economy with even greater health care issues-it also has the opportunity to show leadership in this area.

    In its simplest form thye role of government should focus primarily on two important aspects heath & education. The opportunity to offer affordable health care & education access is the sign of a truly wealthy nation. Although i am not familiar with the issues in the USA I have an ill uncle who has been financially crippled die to the spiraling costs.

    He was a WWII veteran and now is at the mercy of a system in desperate assistance. How about free health care for life for returning veterans.

    In any case I applaud your efforts to bringing the issues of health to a world stage for greater awareness.
    Live Strong and prosperous

    God Bless


  11. Matt K. says:

    Right on brother! A New Earth is forming….

  12. Gordon says:

    Thanks for being one of the few people on this earth that has chosen to take a stand, not because it is popular, but because it is right. The inequalities in American healthcare shocked me as a resident in your fine country. The question that should be asked is not, “How will we afford it?” but rather “Why is the reform even in question when it is morally correct, and how can we reprioritise social policy to make the reform happen?”

    Good luck in the race, whatever it may be. You inspire so many people and that will ultimately be more important than your inestimable talent as a cyclist.

    Cheers from Scotland,


  13. Tanja says:

    Dear Lance,

    I’m, lucky that I live in the Netherlands when it comes down to healthcare. All the Netherlands people have healthcare insurence by law. For families whit low incomes the goverments helps paying the insurance.

    I always have been amazed/shocked about the healthcaresystem in the USA.
    It’s always about money that comes first, and not about the people.
    I think that every human on this planet must get the healtcare he or she needs.
    I wish you’r campagne and your president Obama all the luck and best to make this a succes. So when people are sick they can use all the energy on their healt, getting healty again. And not worring obout ther insurrance or not having an insurrance.

    Good luck and I send light and love with this message for you all.


  14. Laurie Gardner says:

    As a Brit, I’ve often wondered at the disparity in the US about it’s great attitude to equality of opportunity on the one hand and lack of equity in its healthcare system on the other – so applause to those trying to change things for the better. As a cancer survivor for 18 months now, I also applaud the leadership role that the Livestrong campaign/Foundation is taking. Maybe it was only a non profit organisation rather than a governement or even UN agency that could do this on a global basis. I do know that lance’s story and energy have inspired me and thousand’s of others around the world. I am grateful for the hope that it brings and the acceptance that it is an issue that must be discussed and tackeled head on. “Vive Lance” “Siempre – hasta la victoria”

  15. this disease is terrible, it concerns us all.

    cancer = Invaders. and Invaders Must Die.

    Go Lance Armstrong, total support, total respect.
    And get the Schlecks on your team 🙂

  16. rose says:

    I’m a member of the uninsured club. Ovarian cancer, diagnosed in Nov. 2001. Felt like I won the cancer lottery, as it was stage 1. Had the luxury of health insurance at the time, which made all the difference in the world. With ovarian, even Stage 2 is considered advanced. I was one of the very few lucky women to find this early enough to beat it.

    My employer doesn’t offer insurance, so I’ve gone without for several years. An individual policy is not an option because of my health history.

    I try not to think about the ‘what if’. The terrible reality is, you can’t do anything to prevent or detect serious illness without basic access to health care… and that access simply is not affordable in the United States under the existing system.

    I continue to hope that my government will pass legislation that makes affordable health insurance an option for every American.

  17. Way to go Lance. Think globally, act locally. That’s what we need these days. Now more than ever!!!

    Yes we can! And now days, we can’t let this opportunity passes us. We must act now,take advantage of President Obama ideals and views and push for them.

  18. Ben Greetham says:

    Hi Lance,

    As a huge fan of the LIVESTRONG Global Cancer Campaign I would love to be able to generate support and funds here in the UK.

    In order to gain support for the campaign, fundraisers need to be able to engage with people and persuade them to part with their hard earned cash during tough economic times.

    A significant obstacle in doing this is the fact that the LIVESTRONG site only accepts $ currency and has a very strong US feel.

    This is certainly not an issue to those of us that know all about LIVESTRONG and understand how the funds are used.

    The British citizen however, fresh to the LIVESTRONG campaign, doesn?t easily understand this.

    We talk about the Global issue and how we need to build support throughout the world with grassroots action but we can’t offer a website that engages at a grassroots level.

    I’d love to volunteer to create a UK “portal” into the main LIVESTRONG site. A site that aggregates UK addresses and phone numbers of UK based support groups and that accepts UK currency. A site that tells the stories of UK sufferers and carers that appeals directly to the British public.

    Surely this is an idea that could then be replicated in other countries throughout the world to create a truly Global Campaign?

    Thanks for reading,

    Ben G

  19. anja says:

    WOW, still amazed about the way you climbed. What a way to come back!!
    Really hoping for you to win the TDF. All this way to take 2nd??? Yellow is yours!!

  20. Ingo says:

    You’re riding the TDF because you want to win it; raising awareness for cancer is at best an aside.

  21. Simon Glen says:

    Provision of healthcare is absolutely a fundamental human right – and in my opinion the reason for this goes deeper than simply compassion and caring for humanity.

    We are stuck in an age where the modern methods of production and consumption, particularly of food, are causing widespread health problems. If we cannot find ways of creating the food and products we need in a manner that does not cause significant harm then we have to have systems that allow for treatment of diseases that arise, not from the choices people make, but rather that ANY choice they make will result in problems.

    I live in a country (Scotland) that is ravaged by heart disease, stroke, cancer and diabetes. In some cases this is due to self harm from alcohol, tobacco and food. But in a lot of cases it is not – and there needs to be an examination of why cancer in particular is on the increase.

    My honest assessment is that, the way we live our lives, the pace of them, the pressure to succeed, the cost of living, the need to work long hours and our overwhelming dependecy on a conveniance based support infrastructure is driving us into means of consumption that will have inevitable health effects.

    One thing that LiveStrong can do – with its wide ranging focus is to alert as many people as possible that in order to take care of yourself and to prevent and manage the onset of disease is that we all need to just slow down, take care of ourselves and each other, and make choices not on how quick or convenient they are or how they might fit in with our schedule, but how they will affect our health.

    PS. Even if Alberto triumphs this year – we can all see why – he’s a great rider, but Astana this year is an unbelievable team

  22. Kent says:


    You’re a true inspiration to millions fighting cancer and you are uniquely positioned to really make a difference in this battle. We in the US are truly blessed with the best treatments the world has to offer; it saved your life and many I know. My wife experienced this blessing first hand this last 8 months and was treated at MD Anderson. She was diagnosed early with stage I breast cancer, had two surgery’s, chemotherapy and radiation and now has a very good chance of beating this terrible disease. The care could not have been better and we are truly thankful. I agree, our health care system needs fundamental change. But, President Obama and the Congress are moving in an irresponsible way trying to do something while risking everything. There’s a reason thousands from all over the world flock to MD Anderson and the US for treatment. Let’s slow this reform down and perhaps read and understand legislation before we risk the system that has saved so many lives.



  23. exmearden says:

    Thank you, Lance, for the work you do. Ride strong the next few days. We are all riding with you.

    My maternal grandmother, three of my maternal aunts, my maternal uncle, my two sisters – all died of cancer. My other two maternal aunts are cancer survivors. My brother is a prostate cancer survivor; my mother a lung cancer survivor, though she’s now deceased from age and other causes. I am the only family member of my immediate family who has not *yet* had cancer. I’m 51. What are my chances? What are the chances of my three kids?

    That’s a rhetorical question. But it’s a question always at the back of the mind of a survivor.

    And for those who think the healthcare changes Obama will make are too expensive, you must have no idea of the real and terrible cost to the consumer of our current system. Attempting to make what we have now in the US more “efficient” will not happen as long as profit rules the bottom line for insurance companies. The average annual income of these CEOs – – is supported by individual and family insurance premiums that often cost as much as monthly rent or mortgage payments.

    “Efficiency” translates to denial of care or rescission of benefits when the insured individual becomes too costly in the eyes of the corporate decision-makers.

    The “significant savings” under our current system will only happen when the pool of the insureds is narrowed to those who have no chronic illness, no hereditary or genetic markers, and have never been diagnosed with a life-threatening disease like cancer. That savings will only benefit the insurance companies and not the consumer. Make no mistake.

    Open access to healthcare is a *must*. We have all heard and read about the 44 or 47 million uninsured in this country. The reality is that the number of uninsured and underinsured is much, much greater – 40+ million uninsured is a statistic that has been used for years and based on a study done from 2003 – 2005.

    Simply consider the number of unemployed in the last 12 months, the businesses that have closed (or those that are no longer providing benefits), and the dwindling of health services/clinics supported by community grants and donations that are no longer provided due to the economy. Now pull the handle on the slot machine. We are broken.

    What are our chances if we don’t support more access or drive more research? We are a crippled nation until we open the door to healthcare for all. US for-profit healthcare is unsustainable.

    This is a fight to the death.

    Thank you, Livestrong. Go, Lance.

  24. As a business owner, and father, I understand the burden of high health care costs. Our system certainly needs an overhaul.

    I am, however, extremely cautious of our government stepping in to run anything. I would encourage everyone to evaluate all our options before jumping on a ‘free universal health care system’.

    Imagine universal health care next time you’re in line at the DMV.


  25. Robert Gama says:


    Awesome job raising awareness and putting up a global fight on cancer. Being from Canada I can attest to the benefits of ensuring that everyone has access to care when they need it. Although people with great coverage now in the US might have to endure longer wait times, and some other drawbacks, the benefit to ensuring that everyone is treated fairly is certainly worth it from a moral perspective.

    My dad has put up a long battle with cancer when doctors didn’t give him too long to live. He fights and wears his Livestrong band and gains inspiration from you and your foundatioin.

    Good luck for the rest of the tour and in your continuing efforts advocating for the healthy days ahead when cancer will no longer be an issue for people.



  26. Paul Diczok says:

    Please do not politicize the Livestrong battle. Livestrong’s battle transcends politics.

    And it’s got nothing to do with Obama and Kennedy and those others whose politically-inspired “health care reform” plans will do nothing for our battle but will only bring the costliness and inefficiency of Medicare, Medicaid, VA hospitals and Canadian health care to our great country. I defy you to name one gov’t run program, of any type, in this country that is cost efficient and effective.

  27. Hedwig Danes says:

    Hi Lance,

    I fully agree with you. Healthcare should be free for everybody.

    Yesterday I saw a documentary on Dutch television about copyright and patents. See It’s more are less about creative common, but the documentary also named the patentright of medicines and research. It happens often that someone already has taken a patent on an idea, which makes it impossible for researches to go on with their idea and to find a better solution/medicine. Patentright is in this way a disaster for cancerresearch!

    Keep up the good work!


  28. Marc Audet says:


    There are many questions left unanswered in the nationalized health care area. One thing that I think we need to understand is that here in the USA, there is a miniature picture of what Nationalized Healthcare is going top look like. I am not talking Medicare/Medicaid.

    The existing model is called the Veterans Administration Healthcare System. American peaople will not tolerate healthcare like this. I am not a cancer survivor. But my two year battle with chronic severe pain has been a healthcare nightmare. It wasn’t until a year and a half that I finally was accepted for my neurology referral. And this was with a Service Connected Neurological Disability.

    My wife, also a vet has/is in her second possible threat with cancer. Her treatment is a slow moving caterpillar. The specialist who will hopefully perform her Thyroidectomy is out of country right now. He won’t be back from Africa for two more weeks. Once he returns, God only knows if it will be two more weeks until we know IF he will remove half or as my wife has chosen a total Thyroidectomy.

    National Healthcare for our veterans is not managed well. Also National Healthcare for our veterans is not funded adaquately either. It is not healthcare as our legislators see it. Theirs is a preferential system and I am willing to bet much better funded. It is more better managed. And it is not what the rest of Americans will receive.

    In closing, VA Healthcare is my only option, but I don’t go to the doc for every littleache and pain, nor am I like a lot of americans who go in to see their doc with the flu and require the Dr. prescribe the antibiotics. Antibiotics as you know Lance Do nothing for a viral infection. My comment is only valid on the patients viewpoint currently enrolled in National Medicine. It doesn’t even reflect on the Care providers vantagepoint.

    Thank you for giving me an opportunity to share these thoughts.
    Go Lance!


  29. Steve Lanham says:

    I love the Tour and am an avid cyclist. (I am 57 BTW)I know our healthcare system is struggling, but, I can’t think of anything that our gov’t does better than free enterprise. Can you imagine the same bureaucrats at our BMV’s deciding on your healthcare. That’s how it will be. Besides, if we get socialized medicine, where will the Canadians go?

  30. nick says:

    Hi Lance, what is the difference in cost of a “more routine testing” early-detection approach versus research for cures approach versus trying to do it all? I agree the cures are necessary but perhaps from a cost perspective and bang-for-buck impact a short-term focus on early detection may be more feasible? But I don’t know the data – and as you say knowledge is power – but I am passionate about being better informed.

    Inspirational stuff in this year’s tour by the way….as always! and Carlton “yellows” did the LAF proud with their recent performance, not to mention funds raised.


  31. John Travis says:


    Kick some major butt the next two days in the TDF. We are all rooting for you. I have to say I agree with you on equal access to health insurance and heath care BUT….how that thougth has morphed into the current healthcare bill in Congress is beyond me. Their are so many provisions in the bill that will lead everyone to govt. run health insurance were beureacrats make decisions for us versus allowing us the right to make our own healthcare decisions that is simply unacceptable as an American. Please note the Mayo clinic has come out very strongly against the current plan and being a Minnesotan that is really important to me. Equal access is critically important in healthcare reform but let’s hope Congress comes up with a much more common sense plan otherwise, my friend, I’m afraid we will all suffer so much more. Looking forward to seeing you on the podium in Paris!


  32. Linda says:

    People talk about the cost of health care but rarely do they talk about the cost of not having health care, the cost in actual dollars as people go to emergency rooms and the cost in human life as people do not receive the health care that could save their life. I have a friend who did not have health care ? he was a ski instructor during the winter months and a landscaper during the rest of the year. Since these jobs are seasonal, they were offered without health insurance. He recently died of cancer. He didn’t go in for yearly exams or for most health care needs, because it cost quite a bit of money and he just didn’t have much to go around. Last year, he was having problems with his back and finally decided to see a doctor. In addition to a back injury, they found that he was riddled with cancer. Although his house and possessions were sold to pay for his care, I am sure that the state or others had to pick up the bill for some of his final days. But the true loss is not in the dollars spent, but in the health care not received and the loss of my friend.

  33. Shannon- Mainepunkinhead says:

    Thank you! Sincere and heartfelt Thank you. As JB’s tweet said yesterday- many will take notice of what you’ve said and do… very few will take action. You have taken action, lead the charge at cut the path for others to follow -succeed – and survive on their own. Lack of health coverage in an inhibitor to many things..

  34. Allen says:

    If you truly want to rid the world of cancer, then you must focus on its causes, not its effects. The true causes of cancer start with the poison in our foods. Until the politicians climb out of bed with the drug companies, the food companies, and the FDA, people like Monsanto will keep putting poison in what we eat – and telling us it is all safe – baloney! Over time the body can no longer keep up with eliminating all the poisons and this is when cancer can start to set in. Please put more focus into this area rather than worrying about how to fix things after the horse has already left the barn. If people took better care of themselves, they wouldn’t need as much health care. Thank you for all you do.

  35. Jesse Cecil says:

    Dear Lance,
    This piece holds particular significance for me, which has inspired a response. I am one of the Americans you mentioned without healthcare. At 27, I am about to enter grad-school for journalism (don’t hate me), and can simply not afford to purchase healthcare. In addition to riding a bicycle and motorcycle, my family has a long history of cancer. All of my mother’s father’s family have died of cancer, and my mother as well. She succumbed to ovarian cancer when I was 17. Without trying to put too much negative energy out into the universe, I think about my lack of insurance every day. A gravel patch, an unobservant driver, even a small mistake with a sharp kitchen knife, could land me in the hospital and a pile of debt (on top of my student loans). I, too, believe that healthcare is a right. In this day and age, we have a right to be healthy and not gamble with our health and livelihood to simply do the things we love. Added to that, I would not be at all surprised if I have to battle cancer one day, and I would like to be able to fight that battle without haveing to worry about loosing everything my wife and I are working towards. Thank you for your advocacy, and for coming back to cycling. Every other morning, I wake up, watch an hour of the tour, and then go out on my bike. I pedal knowing that across the world, you, Alberto, the Schlecks, and George are suffering with me. It’s a great feeling, and I am usually home in time to watch the end of the stage. Keep up the inspirational “work” as long as it continues to be fun, because we all love to see you out there.
    Thanks again,
    Jesse Cecil

  36. Brian Dowd says:

    I am glad that Health Care Reform is actively being discussed, but I do not like to hear some of what has come out lately. I get sick of hearing how Senators are willing to pass the most recent Health Care Reform without reading it. Decisions, as critical as Health Care Reform, should not be made on a persons opinion, news media and what he/she “thought” was in the Bill.

    As a cancer survivor I (we) know how the costs are too high, we have limited options and how we cannot continue to turn anyone away. Everyone deserves proper care. We have to find a way to serve everyone with the best medical attention possible to help in areas of education, prevention, treatments, surgery, etc.

    We need Health Care! It should not be hard to get a team of people (from both sides) to work full-time on Health Care and create a point-by-point action plan and show what each action will deliver and the possible negative impacts. I know getting both sides together is difficult, but not impossible. A challenge YES, but never impossible! Too many excuses have been made over the years. It is time to take this topic serious and make an intelligent decision for change.

    I am optimist so I have HOPE that something will get worked out and be the right choice.

    Great work by the LAF on the LIVESTRONG Global movement. Seeing LIVESTRONG every where lately and it feels great to be a part of it.


    Brian Dowd
    LIVESTRONG Army Leader, Ocean County, NJ
    Founder Team Down One

  37. peter foster says:

    Yeah to healthcare reform. Nay to taking more of my income. Redistribute some TARP, auto, bank bailout or defence spending to fund this worthy cause. Pick a team people, it’s time for some choices.

  38. Dave Atx says:


    I love you brother, but you can’t seriously believe that socialist policies like national health care will work…? It has failed miserably every where it’s tried…6 month waits in the UK for an MRI….three’s a reason Canadian doctors FLOCK to the United States to practice – it’s because nationalized health care doesn’t work. How about instead, we reduce the tax burden on businesses so that more of them can provide health care to employees as a benefit?

    Good luck with the remaing TdF stages!


  39. Jen Patton says:

    Lance: People fall over each other to laud you with superlatives, and I am one of them. Words are easy, action is hard. While most people will live their entire lives according to the Lemming Theory of Behavior, a few rise above the general noise to lead. 15 Years ago you had a choice to make: survive cancer; survive cancer and go on with the rest of your life; or survive cancer, go on with the rest of your life and use that time to make a difference for others who might be affected so physically and emotionally by fighting for their lives. At the end of your days your legacy might be written with small type for seven TdF victories and in large, bold letters for the millions of people whose lives will have been improved – or even saved – because of your herculean efforts to fight and defeat cancer.

    My father was a physician who did battle against the worst kinds of cancer for 30 years. I remember his tears of frustration when he was unable to save a patient. When you survived and fought back, he told me “whatever they did to him will change treatments forever”. He thought you were a miracle, nothing less. I’m sorry he did not live to see how you would take your miracle and energize cancer research and treatment. Believe me, he approves and applauds.

  40. Kris says:

    Thanks Lance for all the smart words and your defiance to the doctors report so many years ago. You have battled to fight cancer personally. I am one of those who our President typically refers to, I pay $500/month for my own healthcare and don’t want any help doing it!

    When the budget for healthcare is set and then consumed what do we do then? Who pays, and who determines who gets covered?

  41. Brandon says:

    Obama and Kennedy have fooled you worse than Contador has. Like him, they are not team players. You inspire millions and do tremendous work – getting involved in politics will diminsh your impact, especialy when you support the construction of a system where the winners and losers are chosen by a partisan government. As you have taught us, losing a bike race is nothing in comparison to winning the race against cancer, but ObamaCare will not help our country win the race against cancer, will lower the standard of care, and retard economic recovery. These are not races any of us can afford to lose.

  42. Dean says:

    You just have a way of saying it straight from the HEART and we all feel it. Thank you for making this cancer crisis more aware to me so I can make sure I live each and every day “flat out” just like you live yours. Cancer will touch us all and I want to see what we can all do to help cure this disease asap. Livestrong Lance and I read all your Twitters each day and check out the video’s/photos so it is like I am right there ( along with 1.5M twitters) along side you at each stage. All the best and THANKS.

  43. Mary Ann Delaney says:

    Dear Lance,

    My 12 year old son Ben was diagnosed last fall with Osteosarcoma, the same type of bone cancer that claimed Terry Fox’s life. Even though our entire family was terrified about the prospect of what might happen, we decided early on to focus on the present, do everything we could to stay positive and be very thankful for what we have been given, not the least of which is a loving family and wonderful support system in our friends.

    Just after being diagnosed, my sister gave me a copy of your book, highly recommended to us by her co-worker. You have truly been an inspiration to me and have helped me immensely in staying positive and strong throughout this difficult journey. Whenever things have looked difficult, I have thought of you and what you have overcome and this has helped ground me and lift me up. If you can overcome such odds and achieve such great things, why can’t we all? You have reminded us all that strength of will can help us to achieve anything we want to in life.

    My husband and I have been watching the Tour and we continue to be in awe of what you can do. We are so proud for you of all your accomplishments.

    Our family collectively decided to choose Rotation plasty surgery which involved an amputation of the middle part of his left leg and reattachment of the calf and foot (rotated backwards). We choose this option because Ben loves sports and this particular surgery will give him the opportunity to continue doing what he loves.

    Just a couple weeks ago, my son was given the okay by his surgeon to resume bike riding. We are in the process of having a crank modified for his range of motion ability with his prosthesis. What freedom this will give him!


    Mary Ann

  44. Hi Lance,

    I’m also from the UK and up until my diagnosis with prostate cancer in 2005 was a very active competitive cyclist. Like many others I’ve followed you from before you started your fight with cancer and you have been (and still are) a real inspiration to me. Your comeback (and the way you have conducted yourself within the team) this year has proved just what a special individual you are.

    The last four years have been a struggle, not only with my own health but in 2007 my wife was diagnosed with breast cancer and had a mastectomy. Although given the all clear (both of us) in 2008, my wife Caroline has just been diagnosed with secondary breast cancer and we are told only has months to live. We’ve been told that although treatment may slow down the disease, it will not stop it.

    But it’s not all been bad news, we have both given so much back to the sport we are both passionate about, while helping others with cancer (my wife offers support to other sufferers). We run one of the best and largest cycle sportives in the UK and this year raised £20,000 for Cancer Research UK. I’m also a keen cycling photographer, so again I’m able to stay in touch with the sport.

    But now I’m filled with a new passion. I intend to set up a foundation here in the UK to raise much needed funds for local cancer charities and would like your blessing. I had thought of calling this foundation LivestongUK, as we have both taken so much from your story – but would like to ask your permission. I realise you may not be able to answer personally, but hope you get to read this.

    Livestrong Lance

    Derek & Caroline

  45. Mable Yee says:

    Dear Lance:

    To watch you during the TDF again is something I wake up to each morning (while I run off to my spin class). Seeing your resolve, intelligent return to the TDF and how you are pacing yourself is showing millions of people daily how they can push themselves further and never give up.

    I started a non-profit called which mobilizes and activates multicultural women and communities and healthcare is a priority for us. We want to join in with Livestrong and help ensure that universal healthcare for all in the U.S. becomes a reality and not a political football for the politicians to play with. My mother died of breast cancer when she was 61 and I too was left without healthcare recently so I know what it means to be without support. Looking forward to seeing you on the podium in Paris after Ventoux and the TT today!

  46. Robert says:


    While I truly appreciate all that you do for cancer awareness and the inspiration you provide people through your efforts on and off the bike. I have to take this opportunity to strongly disagree with what seems to be your apparent support for the Obama/Kennedy agenda which is a single-payer nationalized health-care system.

    The system we have in place while not perfect, is the best system on the face of the earth, you should know from the cancer survival rates here in the U.S. compared to other major industrialized nations that have single-payer care like Canada and the UK. It is unfortunate that politicians use the exceptions rather than the rule to try and tear down the current system in an effort to take control over one of the largest sectors of the free market. The weight of regulations and government intervention along with the unwillingness to tackle effective TORT reform is what keeps costs so high in the US and prevents costs from getting under control.

    There is already over 1700 private insurance companies that offer policies for a wide range of individuals in different situations. Adding a government option will not increase competition, what is one more option among 1700+, if anything it will crowd out the private sector because the government sets the rules and does not need to make a profit. Like in Canada and the US costs will only be controlled by rationing care, the stories are everywhere in the Canadian and UK press but no major media outlet here in the US picks up the stories because it doesn’t support the Obama agenda.

    You are a man with incredible influence over thousands and even millions of people, I would expect you to be more responsible with that power and get truly informed as to what it is this administration is trying to do with healthcare “reform” instead of just accepting the rhetoric and double-speak of the politicians. If you read the House Bill as I have read large portion, it is a complete takeover of the system, it crowds out private options, penalizes those who do not wish to carry coverage, and will eventually lead to further loss of Liberty through influencing individual behavior. Nationalized Healthcare just means you are “covered”, it doesn’t mean you’ll actually get care, you may, but the waiting list that may be endured is already evident in the Canadian and UK systems.

    If Obama and Kennedy are so hopped up about Nationalizing care with a “public option”, why are both the House and the Senate making up their Bills with language that exempts Congress from having to participate, if it is going to be so wonderful, why don’t they sign on the dotted line themselves and eat their own dog food.

    I respect you enormously, but I must caution you that this current administration which is totally under the control of Liberal Democrats in every branch of Washington is more interested in power than providing care.

    With sincerity,


  47. Gail Ciesielski says:

    Lance, you truly are inspiring. Wishing you the best of luck in the Tour and with Health Care Reform Initiatives. I am a nurse practitioner entering the field at a truly exciting ad scary time. It is important to include Nurse practitioners and Physician’s assistants in these conversations regarding health care reform. More and more primary care for pediatric patients, adults, and geriatric patients is being shouldered (happily) by this level of provider. We are also helping to fill gaps in acute care and oncology. As we take on more and more of this responsibility, physicians are better able to specialize in the many facets of evolving pathology. Collaboration with physicians is integral to our practice and we are eager to join in discussions about how we can be part of a financially solvent health care system that is open to all US humanity.

  48. John says:

    Much respect to you and your cause. Please remember that universal coverage does not guarantee universal care.

    Stay out of politics and stick with cycling and promoting your cause.

  49. Kirk says:

    ?I?ve been inspired by the tenacity of U.S. Senator Edward M. Kennedy.?

    I hope LiveStrong decides to do a little more research before they continue to openly support Senator Edward Kennedy and the Democratic social healthcare reform. Under their proposed plan Senator Edward Kennedy would not receive treatment for his cancer. He would be considered too old to justify the expense by the government. Of course he supports the socialized medicine approach because he would not have to participate in the plan as you and I would. Do some changes need to be made, certainly, but not in the direction they are attempting to take. Europe is moving away from the socialized medicine approach because they tried it and it doesn?t work.

  50. Kelly Gardin says:

    Congrats on a great race so far. You are an inspiration to us all. I think you need to do some home work on this Healthcare Bill. There are things in this bill that no American wants or will stand for. I doubt any of the health care you received would possible under this plan. Peter Fleckman is twitting about the plan paragraph by paragraph. Here’s a recap so far:

    Peter Fleckstein (aka Fleckman) is reading it and has been posting on
    Twitter his findings . This is from his
    postings (Note: All comments are Fleckman’s)

    Pg 22 of the HC Bill MANDATES the Govt will audit books of ALL EMPLOYERS
    that self insure!!

    Pg 30 Sec 123 of HC bill – THERE WILL BE A GOVT COMMITTEE that decides what
    treatments/benes u get

    Pg 29 lines 4-16 in the HC bill – YOUR HEALTHCARE IS RATIONED!!!

    Pg 42 of HC Bill – The Health Choices Commissioner will choose UR HC
    Benefits 4 you. U have no choice!

    PG 50 Section 152 in HC bill – HC will be provided 2 ALL non US citizens,
    illegal or otherwise

    Pg 58HC Bill – Govt will have real-time access 2 individuals’ finances & a
    National ID Healthcard will be issued!

    Pg 59 HC Bill lines 21-24 Govt will have direct access 2 ur banks accts 4
    elect. funds transfer

    PG 65 Sec 164 is a payoff subsidized plan 4 retirees and their families in
    Unions & community orgs (ACORN).

    Pg 72 Lines 8-14 Govt is creating an HC Exchange 2 bring priv HC plans under
    Govt control.

    PG 84 Sec 203 HC bill – Govt mandates ALL benefit pkgs 4 priv. HC plans in
    the Exchange

    PG 85 Line 7 HC Bill – Specs for of Benefit Levels for Plans = The Govt will
    ration ur Healthcare!

    PG 91 Lines 4-7 HC Bill – Govt mandates linguistic approp svcs. Example –
    Translation 4 illegal aliens

    Pg 95 HC Bill Lines 8-18 The Govt will use groups i.e., ACORN & Americorps 2
    sign up indiv. for Govt HC plan

    PG 85 Line 7 HC Bill – Specs of Ben Levels 4 Plans. #AARP members – U Health
    care WILL b rationed

    -PG 102 Lines 12-18 HC Bill – Medicaid Eligible Indiv. will b
    automat.enrolled in Medicaid. No choice

    pg 124 lines 24-25 HC No company can sue GOVT on price fixing. No “judicial
    review” against Govt Monop

    pg 127 Lines 1-16 HC Bill – Doctors/ #AMA – The Govt will tell YOU what u
    can make.

    Pg 145 Line 15-17 An Employer MUST auto enroll employees into pub opt plan.

    Pg 126 Lines 22-25 Employers MUST pay 4 HC 4 part time employees AND their

    Pg 149 Lines 16-24 ANY Emplyr w payroll 400k & above who does not prov. pub
    opt. pays 8% tax on all payroll

    pg 150 Lines 9-13 Biz w payroll btw 251k & 400k who doesnt prov. pub. opt
    pays 2-6% tax on all payroll

    Pg 167 Lines 18-23 ANY individual who doesnt have acceptable HC accrdng 2
    Govt will be taxed 2.5% of inc

    Pg 170 Lines 1-3 HC Bill Any NONRESIDENT Alien is exempt from indiv. taxes.
    (Americans will pay)

    Pg 195 HC Bill -officers & employees of HC Admin (GOVT) will have access 2
    ALL Americans finan/pers recs

    PG 203 Line 14-15 HC – “The tax imposed under this section shall not be
    treated as tax” Yes, it says that

    Pg 239 Line 14-24 HC Bill Govt will reduce physician svcs 4 Medicaid.
    Seniors, low income, poor affected

    Pg 241 Line 6-8 HC Bill – Doctors, doesnt matter what specialty u have,
    you’ll all be paid the same

    PG 253 Line 10-18 Govt sets value of Dr’s time, prof judg, etc. Literally
    value of humans.

    PG 265 Sec 1131Govt mandates & controls productivity for private HC

    PG 268 Sec 1141 Fed Govt regulates rental & purchase of power driven

    PG 272 SEC. 1145. TREATMENT OF CERTAIN CANCER HOSPITALS – Cancer patients –
    welcome to rationing!

    Page 280 Sec 1151 The Govt will penalize hospitals 4 what Govt deems
    preventable readmissions.

    Pg 298 Lines 9-11 Drs, treat a patient during initial admiss that results in
    a readmiss-Govt will penalize u.

    Pg 317 L 13-20 OMG!! PROHIBITION on ownership/investment. Govt tells Drs.
    what/how much they can own.

    Pg 317-318 lines 21-25,1-3 PROHIBITION on expansion- Govt is mandating
    hospitals cannot expand

    pg 321 2-13 Hospitals have oppt to apply for exception BUT community input
    required. Can u say ACORN?!!

    Pg335 L 16-25 Pg 336-339 – Govt mandates estab. of outcome based measures.
    HC the way they want. Rationing

    Pg 341 Lines 3-9 Govt has authority 2 disqual Medicare Adv Plans, HMOs, etc.
    Forcing peeps in2 Govt plan

    Pg 354 Sec 1177 – Govt will RESTRICT enrollment of Special needs ppl! WTF.
    My sis has down syndrome!!

    Pg 379 Sec 1191 Govt creates more bureaucracy – Telehealth Advisory Cmtte.
    Can u say HC by phone?

    PG 425 Lines 4-12 Govt mandates Advance Care Planning Consult. Think Senior
    Citizens end of life

    Pg 425 Lines 17-19 Govt will instruct & consult regarding living wills,
    durable powers of atty. Mandatory!

    PG 425 Lines 22-25, 426 Lines 1-3 Govt provides apprvd list of end of life
    resources, guiding u in death

    PG 427 Lines 15-24 Govt mandates program 4 orders 4 end of life. The Govt
    has a say in how ur life ends

    Pg 429 Lines 1-9 An “adv. care planning consult” will b used frequently as
    patients health deteriorates

    PG 429 Lines 10-12 “adv. care consultation” may incl an ORDER 4 end of life
    plans. AN ORDER from GOV

    Pg 429 Lines 13-25 – The govt will specify which Doctors can write an end of
    life order.

    PG 430 Lines 11-15 The Govt will decide what level of treatment u will have
    at end of life

    Pg 469 – Community Based Home Medical Services=Non profit orgs. Hello, ACORN
    Medical Svcs here!!?

    Page 472 Lines 14-17 PAYMENT TO COMMUNITY-BASED ORG. 1 monthly payment 2 a
    community-based org. Like ACORN?

    PG 489 Sec 1308 The Govt will cover Marriage & Family therapy. Which means
    they will insert Govt in2 ur marriage

    Pg 494-498 Govt will cover Mental Health Svcs including defining, creating,
    rationing those svcs

    Here’s the full Health Care bill that sits in the House.

  51. Jack says:

    Those who do not, have not or will not contribute to society or the economic engine that will drive health care for all… SHOULD NOT get free health care. I cannot afford to pay for them, as I continue to pay for my own health care and contribute through taxes.

  52. Leo Chambers says:

    I’m a huge fan of both you and Livestrong and wish you the very best. Normally, you inspire a huge number of people with your efforts and message. However, I find this a very uninspiring letter; I think you risk all the goodwill that you have created when you begin supporting such poorly considered and overtly political positions. I know that it makes me reconsider my support for Livestrong as an organization and I don’t think I’m alone in that.

    I know your intentions are probably for the best and hope that you can continue to provide valuable inspiration for millions, but please stay out of politics.

  53. John says:

    Yes, we do need healthcare reform. Yes, we must make sure everyone has access to quality healthcare.
    It is tragic how the Congressional leadership of both parties have abandoned our president – putting politics ahead of the good of the country.
    The president and the (very few) true problem solvers in Congress need to get it right.
    It’s really sad when everyone’s dialogue identifies things that are bad but no one is ready to work together to get it right!
    This IS a really tough problem. No political solution will work. It will tale everyone working together to get a good solution. BUT there is a good solution!

  54. lance you are rare and there are few in the wonderful world of ours. there is no doubt that you can finish everything you start. as I watch your accomplishments I am stronger knowing that life is what you make of it. my dad passed away from cancer just recently and for a few days ago I went through a hard time thinking my doctor was to inform me what they removed from me was cancer. just knowing, at the time you could do it and do the impossible accomplishment of heading strong for the TDF my fears dissapated and I would be ok. Thank you for being real and I will be rooting for you and know you will do great in your race.

    Albert Payan Garcia “United States Navy”.

  55. Eric says:

    Lance, you are realy a “winner”, every day we followy you in this incredible race and your mind is realy like a big champion
    you are on tv now in live aroudn annecy lake and i am sure that you can come back on podiummmmmmmm !!!


  56. GJ says:

    Just – thank you. To be wealthy, famous, an extraordinary athlete, most of us can’t relate. What most can relate to is someone who cares and I think if this wasn’t truly evident prior to this TDF, it certainly is now. There is no way for you to ever know the lives that your efforts have touched and will continue to touch in a world filled with sadness and pain.

  57. Wendy says:

    I am a huge fan and a supporter of LiveStrong, but have to agree with Robert (46) on this one.

    Robert says:
    July 23, 2009 at 7:52 am

    While I truly appreciate all that you do for cancer awareness and the inspiration you provide people through your efforts on and off the bike. I have to take this opportunity to strongly disagree with what seems to be your apparent support for the Obama/Kennedy agenda which is a single-payer nationalized health-care system.

    The system we have in place while not perfect, is the best system on the face of the earth, you should know from the cancer survival rates here in the U.S. compared to other major industrialized nations that have single-payer care like Canada and the UK. It is unfortunate that politicians use the exceptions rather than the rule to try and tear down the current system in an effort to take control over one of the largest sectors of the free market. The weight of regulations and government intervention along with the unwillingness to tackle effective TORT reform is what keeps costs so high in the US and prevents costs from getting under control.

    There is already over 1700 private insurance companies that offer policies for a wide range of individuals in different situations. Adding a government option will not increase competition, what is one more option among 1700+, if anything it will crowd out the private sector because the government sets the rules and does not need to make a profit. Like in Canada and the US costs will only be controlled by rationing care, the stories are everywhere in the Canadian and UK press but no major media outlet here in the US picks up the stories because it doesn?t support the Obama agenda.

    You are a man with incredible influence over thousands and even millions of people, I would expect you to be more responsible with that power and get truly informed as to what it is this administration is trying to do with healthcare ?reform? instead of just accepting the rhetoric and double-speak of the politicians. If you read the House Bill as I have read large portion, it is a complete takeover of the system, it crowds out private options, penalizes those who do not wish to carry coverage, and will eventually lead to further loss of Liberty through influencing individual behavior. Nationalized Healthcare just means you are ?covered?, it doesn?t mean you?ll actually get care, you may, but the waiting list that may be endured is already evident in the Canadian and UK systems.

    If Obama and Kennedy are so hopped up about Nationalizing care with a ?public option?, why are both the House and the Senate making up their Bills with language that exempts Congress from having to participate, if it is going to be so wonderful, why don?t they sign on the dotted line themselves and eat their own dog food.

    I respect you enormously, but I must caution you that this current administration which is totally under the control of Liberal Democrats in every branch of Washington is more interested in power than providing care.

    With sincerity,


  58. Lisa Y says:

    Lance, as a fellow cancer survivor (1 year) someone who’s lost my whole family to cancer, and a registered nurse, I am glad to see you on board with this–I’ve been trying to educate my conservative friends that this is not socialism…and I’m happy to see you quote the same exact facts I have been over the last two days: that the US spends more of it’s GDP on health care, that we do the worst out of all the industrialized nations in the key markers suck as infant mortality rates and longevity…

    And I know you’re a conservative.

    Thank you for realizing this issue is not something we can afford to politicize!

    I’m trying to live strong every day. I know you are too because I’m watching the tour 😉

    Lisa Y. RN

  59. Eric says:


    I concur with “Robert” and other postings on this site that you must not squander your position in the fight against cancer by supporting legislation (and political idealogies?) that the American people are increasingly finding to be a very bad idea! You “ride” a fine line by supporting policies that just may end up destroying the type of quality healthcare which enabled you to survive and thrive. Please, just keep it focused on the fight against cancer and nothing else. Good luck in the TT today and in the final stages. You are a champion!


  60. Doug says:


    I am a huge supporter of you on the bike. The courage and tenacity you have displayed as an athlete, as well as when you were fighting your own bout against cancer, are inspiring. I’m all for your efforts to raise awareness and private funding for cancer research.

    That said, I vehemently oppose the ideas of those you have chosen to align yourself behind in the debate over healthcare reform. The current Medicare system is insolvent, though it is funded by a 5.8% tax on the wages of every American worker. (For EVERY $100 you earn, $5.80 in Medicare tax is paid to the U.S. Treasury!) Medicare covers those aged 65 and older. The Congressional majority and President Obama now wish to extend a similar structure of paying for healthcare to all. (I don’t yet have a solid answer as to whether “all” in this case means all citizens, or all who are present in the U.S.) What would the Medicare tax rate have to be raised to in order to support such a scheme?

    We cannot afford to hurry this. Once healthcare for all becomes a cradle to grave entitlement, we are screwed! This is about liberty, my fellow citizens. If you cannot choose who will deliver your medical care, and what measures will be employed in your care, you are not free! Nowhere in our Constitution or Bill of Rights is “free” healthcare enumerated among the rights of citizens of the U.S.

    Lance, I hope you win another Tour (or more than one!), but I hope your allies in this debate are utterly defeated.


  61. Linda says:

    While I admire you for you efforts in fighting cancer, I cannot nor will not support Obama’s “healthcare” plans. I agree with Robert and Jack; they’ve got it right.

  62. Margaret Nelson says:

    I am a huge supporter of Live Strong. I never watched The Tour until Lance rode. I enjoy the race. You have a large platform Lance but you only know in part.

    Here is my problem with a RUSH JOB health care, money and a deceptive agenda.
    I was raised in Great Britain and I experienced the health care first hand. Take some time to thoroughly read all the documents, better still like Reagan said when the bill was delivered to him.. reduce this 1000 papers to 30 and then I’ll read and sign. What are we doing to our country. Rushing, suggests to me failure on the other side. I am frustrated with people in power, they are elected citizen and I hope Americans stand up and take their country back. I don’t care about a political cause I care for people. Some people want all the control. We all must participate in this huge problem. Government is too big and out of control

    I also am against insuring illegal aliens. I came to this country legally and NO one paid my insurance. In fact at one time you had to have a job. Its all about the vote and more power to individuals in DC.. IT STINKS

  63. Paul says:

    Lance u did a really great job this TDF. After seeing u in the giro i had some doubts u could still be one of the best. But after seeing u these 3 weeks i still think u are still are one of the best riders on this earth. 3 third place for an old guy is not bad at all 🙂

    I think of what u said about different preparation for the TDF next year and a team thats build around u again, u will really do even better next year. Although 5 min. behind on AC is kinda much, but cannot wait for next year.

    I was woundering if the biking is still a way for u to keep the cancer out of ur body, afraid it might come back one day. My father died of cancer also, after that i also went biking for like 10 yrs now(3 times a week a round of 60 km). Only my average record is only 32 km/h on 60 km, but as a timetrail. So not biking in group and gives u a great feeling.

    U are a great motivator. Not only for ur teammates but also for the people watching u on television. Txs to u i am still biking.

    Never quit!

  64. Julie says:

    I have to agree with Lance in that healthcare should be affordable for everyone. The last thing that should happen when or if we get sick is to wonder how we are going to pay for it!! I find it hard to belive that in our country people don’t care about those who can’t afford insurance. The current cost of descent insurance is almost a mortgage payment. What will be at in the future if we don’t change it now. As you know cancer and other diseases don’t care if you have insurance or not.

  65. Debbie D says:

    Always have been a big supporter of yours and Livestrong. Totally, disagree with your support of the OBAMA Healthcare plan. It will ruin what we have. People are more likely to be screened in America and if diagnosed with cancer to get faster access than those in Canada or England. Our survival rates are higher than those in Europe. The way to get the numbers to go down is to go to their type of system. I cannot support you in the cause. Think maybe you should think a little more about it before signing on to whatever is being pushed by your friends.

  66. iris scerca says:

    Lance- You are an amazing athlete, and an incredible teammate (Contador could learn much from you), that being said, it is no surprise that you would work so hard to help create social reformation with the Live Strong campaign. The teammate in you carries with you throughout your life, here you are supporting the large group of people who experience Cancer like you by bringing awareness and hope to help those that financially and emotionally need it. I don’t know you, but the world is a better place with you in it…and so is Cycling, so happy you are back!!

  67. RazorsEdge says:

    Here’s where the mixing of celebrity, brilliant and inspirational athlete and person with politics gets dicey.

    Yes, Reform need to happen to address costs and coverage. BUT, Lance and others, if you can quote what the cost will be to me and my family for the next 25 years until I retire or with some clarityexplain to me and my family what my $ share will be, then how can you take a stand on policy that has not yet taken it’s final shape?

    You’re advocating a policy that I’m not covinced even you can explain to me the financial obligations and consequences my family will require.

    Anyone taking a position right now may have all the details, but I don’t. Reform is that big, bigger than buying a family car that has substancial consequences first 10 years and beyond. My family is important, so knowing exactly what’s required of them I’m protective of.

  68. Jennifer Smith says:

    I am a 4 year breast cancer survivor and I do vote for the cure. I applaud Lance and Livestrong, and all of the other cancer advocacy groups who have joined him in bringing this issue to the forefront.
    I lived in Canada for 12 years and enjoyed the best healthcare of my life. I have cancer survivor friends in Canada, Ireland and Australia, that all had their treatments, without suffering the financial nightmare that I have had being sick in the United States. I have worked hard all of my life, and I have insurance, but we are rapidly approaching the point of bankruptcy,or choosing not to follow my careplan that my oncologist and surgeon have recommended.

    Lance, I am so proud of what you have accomplished in getting the message out. For millions of cancer survivors around the world, Hope rides on your shoulders.

    Your efforts in the Tour are so symbolic to me. In fighting cancer, its all about your team.

    Go Lance,
    Go Astana,
    Always Livestrong

  69. cleopatraz says:

    amen brother…if more people would protest against this type of population control(chemicals in the air we breathe, pollution in our waterways, hormones and antibiotics in the foods we eat, planes flying over our heads, in every state and almost in every country now spraying chemicals into the air for us to breathe in daily.) we are all slowly getting killed… by cancer,aids,new flu”s…etc etc … all governments know of these things that are killing us.the governments wont change much…but we as a people have to…before we are wiped out completely…let us not forget what happened to the wonderful north american indians…. Rock on lance & god bless you for what you are doing for the future of so many others…….

  70. Roberta says:

    I have to agree with Linda, Jack,Robert, et al. I admire you but think you have made a mistake in support of something you have not checked out throughly. You admire Obama and Kennedy and so believe what they say just as many admire and believe what you say. If we are right about this Lance and if this health care bill passes, I, along with many others, believe that we will in fact suffer greatly. As a senior citizen, I will be expendable. If I get cancer, they will not deem my life worthy to expend precious resources upon. I will be waiting for the care I need, as many baby boomers will be doing. But not all will wait. As others have stated before me, congress and those who can afford quality care, such as yourself, will receive it. I too am disappointed that you would take a stand and use your popularity to help accomplish something that, in the end, you may sorry you did. Please take time to read the bill as congress does not, and then tell us your position. I do not see the need to rush. We have the tine to think through and pass real health care reform that even congress and the wealthy would join. We ALL deserve that.

  71. VARN09 says:

    I would love for there to be healthcare reform but universal healthcare is not the wonderful thing everyone here thinks it is. I lived in the UK for a year where they have nationalized healthcare. I keep up with my friends there. A friend of a distant cousin of mine in Scotland died of breast cancer because she had to wait so long to get treatment due to the budget constraints of universal healthcare. My cousin’s wife had the same cancer but recovered because they had saved up enough money to pay for private treatment. However, it wiped out all of their savings. She is alive and grateful but now that they have payed for one thing privately, they are getting charged for every doctor’s visit. They are having to fight this now and explain that all that money they saved is gone, plus they pay taxes like everyone else and so should still get healthcare without being billed.
    A friend of mine’s dad recently had to wait for three months to get cardiac bypass surgery. Here they would have had him on the table in a matter of hours. As a cardiac nurse, I know for a fact that more damage has been done to his heart because of the wait. If you are over 60, they won’t do bypass at all. You just die.
    The problem with universal healthcare is that the tax load becomes almost unbearable so they have to cut back spending to the point that it is dangerous to the health of all the public. At the end of the day, someone still has to pay for it and even the wealthy run out of money when 60% of their income is taken in taxes. Mediocre healthcare for all is not better than excellent healthcare for most. It is true that our infant mortality rate is terrible, but universal healthcare is not going to fix that. There are other solutions we need to look at. In particular, in Europe childbirth is mostly midwife managed. Here it is mostly OB-gyn managed. This makes it far more expensive and midwives tend to have better outcomes anyway. I could continue but it would be too long for this forum.

  72. Mike says:


    Thank you for all you do. Your decision to return has been an inspiration to me.

    To those who disagree with your post, I think they take it too literally. I take it to mean that Obama and Kennedy have drawn a line in the sand and that the time is NOW to finally do something. I do not view it as support for their specific plans because as we know what they support now is going to be very different from what they originally proposed.


  73. Joe says:

    I find it amazing how money issues run supreme in the United States, regardless of anything else. We are the richest country, yet run 3rd world status in our current education & heathcare..;. Yes, people with money may have better rates of survival, but those without are left alone…

    New reform measures are not perfect, and may create new challenges to overcome. Shame on those of you who do not see the higher good, who do not care about your fellow human beings. Sometimes money just isn’t the issue. In the long run, it will cost less to cover everyone as those without currently are forced to emergency rooms for basic care…

    Read some history, not just economics… Read some philosophy, not just political rhetoric… Do you care at all?… Be a great human being first, the rest will take care of itself; maybe not perfect, and certainly not for free, but better nevertheless

    Thanks, Lance. My sister died of cancer at 43 and the only solace she found was in your story. Do what you can to get coverage for all.

  74. GatorSM says:

    I respect you Lance and your fight with cancer and your determination in cycling but the health care that is being proposed is a disaster waiting to happen. The main changes for health care need to be costs and availability in some areas. Private companies can do that with Tort reform and several other measure that will reduce cost, create inovation and discoveries.

    If this reform is put in place it WILL kill the private healthcare system. Think about it.

    Obama in his please last night dance around every question. I would think that with the team you have around you in Livestrong there would be so much better ideas brougt to the table.

  75. crookham says:

    As a Family Physician I am in 100% agreement with your statement on the need for health care reform. It the foundation of the fight against cancer.

    Thanks for your support and keep riding and inspiring.

    PS to the few people who still dont support health care for all citizens…..please spend a day in a community health center. Sadly, in America you will see people (old and young) with advanced PREVENTABLE cancer. It is not ethical or fair and it needs to change.

  76. Jorge says:

    I can’t believe the number of comments here are apparently straightly aimed at the fact that you support the healthcare reform that the President is supporting and none absolutely NONE of them have any idea of what exactly it entails and how it will have an enormous positive impact on everyone. For all that oppose it, here’s a reality check, WHAT WE HAVE NOW DOESN’T WORK!!! IF IT DID, WE WOULDN’T BE TALKING ABOUT WHY HEALTHCARE COSTS GO UP EACH AND EVERY YEAR!

    While some may want to tread the same road and pave the same trail, some of us brave enough to understand that a change is needed. I for one am grateful that people such as yourself with the amount of influence you have and the experiences you’ve lived thru can shed some light on this and lend your fame, your support to this worthy cause. I hope that the President’s plan goes thru so that we won’t have more individuals like my grandmother die in a hospital without treatment simply because they can’t afford to.

    To the person who indicated something along the lines on why certain Congressmen want to opt out of it, ask yourself the same question if you had a large and I mean a VERY, VERY large interest in how much a particular health care group ends up losing when this goes thru. Record profits in a time when the economy is slumping should tell the people that something is wrong with our system.

    Thanks for being the champion of those that have not. I hope to see you in a Triathlon next year. I would love to brag that I had an opportunity to race with you. Good Luck and God Speed…

  77. Dr.Dave says:

    While this may not be the best forum for conducting this discussion (since it is so large and complicated), I must (respectfully) disagree with Wendy, Robert, and Eric. The best available comparative data suggest that the U.S. does NOT have the best healthcare system in the world. Further, the blanket statement made by Robert that cancer survival rates are highest in the U.S. is wrong. The best available data on the subject come from a longitudinal study, published in the medical journal Lancet Oncology in 2008, which compared cancer survival rates in 31 countries. The results indicate that the U.S. had the highest survival rates for breast and prostate cancers, but that Japan has the highest survival rates for colon and colorectal cancers in men, and that France has the highest survival rates for colon and colorectal cancers in women. France is especially notable, since it is a universal healthcare system that, while expensive compared to other countries in Europe, is inexpensive compared to the U.S.: the cost is $3,500 per capita in France, while it is $6,100 per capita in the U.S. The French system is known not just for its universal coverage, but also for responsive healthcare providers, and unique freedoms for both patients and providers.

    It should also be noted that a national average for the U.S. is misleading, since the cancer survival rates vary widely by state, and that the survival rates in some states are about equal to that in some third-world countries. You are lucky, indeed, to be treated at one of the major cancer centers in the U.S. However, proximity to a major cancer center was not a significant factor, as there are at least 2 in NYC, but NYC had the lowest overall survival rate in the U.S. In addition, there are racial disparities. For instance, white women had a 14% higher survival rate for breast cancer than black women. These types of differences simply must be done away with.

    In addition, the World Health Organization ranked the healthcare system for each country by several measures; France was rated first, and the U.S.was 37th, right behind Costa Rica and ahead of Slovenia.

    All of that having been said, I must also agree with several other people who have blogged here: we need to be cautious about the types, scale, and rate of change. We should not change merely for the sake of change. The Obama/Kennedy proposals may very well not be the best option. On the other hand, we can, should, and must do better than we currently are.

    I applaud Lance and LiveStrong for their efforts in advocacy and in promoting active discussion regarding these issues. I caution everyone regarding sources of information: there are no regulations on what can be posted on the web. Anyone can post anything, and there is nobody but the reader conducting fact checking.
    Just so that we are clear, here is the citation so that any of you can check the facts about the comparative cancer survival rate study:
    Cancer survival in five continents: a worldwide population-based study (CONCORD)
    Michel P Coleman, Manuela Quaresma, Franco Berrino, Jean-Michel Lutz, Roberta De Angelis, Riccardo Capocaccia, Paolo Baili, Bernard Rachet, Gemma Gatta, Timo Hakulinen, Andrea Micheli, Milena Sant, Hannah K Weir, J Mark Elwood, Hideaki Tsukuma, Sergio Koifman, Gulnar Azevedo e Silva, Silvia Francisci, Mariano Santaquilani, Arduino Verdecchia, Hans H Storm, John L Young, and the CONCORD Working Group
    The Lancet Oncology (2008).

    The study I cited from the World Health Organization is available on the WHO web site:


  78. Jim Pleace says:


    It is such an inspiration to see you back. I’ve worn the yellow wristband for a while now and get the word out about the foundation often. Your strength and courage inspire me to fight Clinical Depression as a disease and hope that the money raised for research and passing of legislation to allow stem cell research would help defeat Depression and Cancer worldwide. Perhaps this will get the World’s attention. Ride strong and know I believe you can beat Contador!

  79. Kye Strance says:

    My concern though is those like Lance Armstrong would not be alive through the health care system that is being proposed. Given a less then 50% chance of survival might give reason for a govt bureaucrat to deny you coverage. To me, it seems that the livestrong mantra would be quashed by someone determining for me if I am allowed to fight or not.

  80. Carolyn says:

    Superb and inspiring letter, from my point of view. With the stunning image of recent TDF mountain ascents in mind, I appreciate Lance’s display of passion both on the bike and on the page.

    I would like to trust that such energy can spur good thinkers to overcome political obstacles and arrive at vastly improved healthcare options for us all.

  81. Pinto says:

    Hi folks, Contador is giving lessons… it’s very difficult knowing how to win, but even more difficult is knowing how to lose, Lance was a very good winner, but now he is a very bad loser.

  82. Adrian says:


  83. Eric N. says:

    To the dissenters… Perhaps I’m missing something, but, this letter does not say anything about single payer, a political party, or anyone’s ‘political agenda’. This point of this letter is clear to me: no one should be denied care that means life or death because of their size of their paycheck, or the wealth of their family. The letter does say that healthcare availability is a matter of social justice. Which, to me, means human rights. So, at some point we all pretty much agreed that slavery and indentured servitude was wrong, even tho many of the founders of the USA owned slaves. Yet, the health of your friends, family members, and neighbors is not of your concern? I’m extremely proud that the USA stands out from many countries around the world as a leader for social justice and charity, but, for some reason, we can’t seem to treat our own neighbors and fellow citizens with the same humane attitude. And we are, on some level, a Christian nation (altho I’m not Christian)… what does that book that you’re all so crazy about say about this sort of thing? Doesn’t this strike you as a bit odd. Selectivity just isn’t an option when it comes to morality, folks. Wouldn’t you agree with this?

  84. Mark A Costa says:

    Access to affordable healthcare is (or should be) a fundamental human right. There should be no difficult decision(s) and/or tradeoffs to make in any family when an individual requires medical attention. Problems that can be solved by modern medicine SHOULD be remedied, regardless of socioeconomic status, or anything else.

    We often hear about “rising healthcare costs” and unaffordable prescription drugs, but our favorite TV programs are constantly interrupted (like every 10 minutes) with ads for precription drugs like FLOMAX and Cialis. Surely these mass marketing campaigns contribute significantly to drug costs, which are passed along to the consumer, you & me.

    I don’t pretend to know what the solution to this problem is, but I’m sure something (MANY THINGS) need to change. Here, public school teachers are presently working without a contract and badly needed salary increases primarily b/c both sides can’t agree upon a fair and affordable healthcare provision. Something’s not right!!!!!!

    And BTW, Lance: I’ve known all along the real reason you’ve returned to pro bike racing (besides you love the sport) – to SHOW people you NEVER give up, and always fight for the best possible outcome.

    Good luck…see you on the podium in Paris!


  85. Jennifer Saffran says:

    Bravo for recognizing that breakthroughs in cancer research are meaningless without the vehicle to deliver the care. Those who are afraid of paying for this care don’t realize that they already are, in the cost of their own insurance, hospital bills, and the fact that sick people cannot be productive. I wish the naysayers would take a hard look at the facts, at other countries, and ask themselves why they are paying so much and getting so little. Compare our system with the French, the British, Canadians. It can be done. They pay less and get more. Bravo for using your talents to make a difference.

  86. Eddy says:

    One of the biggest inspirations to me, you have been able to give alongside with doing something you love. That is truly a remarkable achievement. I hope people in this country can get out of the old generation. this isn’t the 20th century. its the 21st. And things HAVE to change. Because as much as many people “love” our “system”, and praise it for being one of the “best”, its been an utter failure. Actually having experienced the absurdity of the “system” can enlighten one on how much it needs to be changed. We need to LIVESTRONG together rather then live divided in the past.


    (Robert sounds pretty darn selfish)

  87. the_reptiles_and_i says:

    You are right on Lance. Thank you for joining our fine President in giving us inspiration and quality. The health care reform nay sayers had their chance to drive the bus and they got drunk and wrecked it. Apart from shifting the blame and instead of helping to pull folks free of a burning chassis, they hide the extinguishers behind their backs and seek to order up another round.

  88. Caity C says:

    I agree with Jennifer Saffran #33, and strongly echo her “Bravo!”

    And she’s right:

    “Those who are afraid of paying for this care don?t realize that they already are, in the cost of their own insurance, hospital bills, and the fact that sick people cannot be productive.”

    “I wish the naysayers would take a hard look at the facts, at other countries, and ask themselves why they are paying so much and getting so little. Compare our system with the French, the British, Canadians. It can be done.”

    I’ve lived in France and Germany: we had reasonably priced, good health coverage and weren’t afraid to get sick.

    Again, thank you for your brilliant and inspiring letter and thank you for not being afraid to state this important truth.

    And despite all the inter-team brouhaha, it does look you are having fun at the Tour de France! Congrats on the new sponsor and good luck in retaining your podium position!

  89. Kint says:

    Yikes, love the tour and your inspiration to support survivors and defeat cancer. HUGE fan of you cycling and fundraising. How about Trek Madones for every child in Africa. Nike could give free shoes for life to all children the world over. There are economic realities that your little utopean rant might have missed. Love you brother, but come down off the mountain air, evaluate who develops, innovates, supports and pays for the lifesaving treatments in the healthcare pipeline, then continue to work toward expanding that pipeline to reach the world in thoughtful baby steps, not grandstanding political solutions that will injure us all.

  90. Darryl says:

    In Canada we have universal health care. Even an injured foreign citizen would be treated without question.
    All people deserve healthcare. Period.
    If some bum who does not want to work is denied healthcare, quess what. His children are also denied.
    My taxes go to things far more foolish than this. I am an R.N who has worked 19 years in the O.R. I have many friends working in the U.S and the U.S system simply does not provide. I applaud President Obama for his resolve to change this.
    Lance, you are an inspiration far outside of the cycling world. Keep it up!
    Now, time to go for a ride……

  91. fayçal says:

    lance you are a the best. please win tomorrow and see you next year in the yellow jersey.

  92. patou says:

    For those of you who made comments that Lance did not do his homework before speaking about health care reform?are you kidding me! Lance is a WINNER and all winners do their homework. Lance didn?t win the TDF 7 times by dumb luck. I?ve heard Lance speak and he come across as someone who chooses his words very carefully.

  93. Matt says:

    Well put, Lance. It’s hard to find liberty and pursue happiness without life. As such, basic healthcare should be a right of every American–not just the ones that can afford health insurance. America is the greatest country on earth, but we could learn a thing or two from our European and Canadian neighbors when it comes to healthcare.

    Good luck tomorrow on Mont Ventoux.

  94. Matt says:

    On the off chance you actually read these comments and have the time to respond: Any chance we’ll see you in the Tour of Missouri? Hope so. I’ll buy you a beer or rocket fuel or whatever it is you drink.

    Keep up the good fight.

  95. JB says:

    Thanks, Lance, for your unbelievable strength. You are inspiring whether riding the peaks of France or tackling the most important health issues today. Thrilled to see you back at the TdF to compete and thrilled to see you back to raise awareness!

  96. Christine says:

    I’m inspired by Lance’s letter and his commitment to cancer issues when he could just sit back and enjoy life. Perhaps those that protest health reform have never known what it is like for a spouse to have cancer, continue working (paying taxes) and even while paying for 2 health insurance policies by both of us–our out of pocket last year was $47,000-more than my husband even makes!! And we consider ourselves lucky.

    And why is the pharmaceutical industry exempt from having to negotiating rates like the other parts?–lobbyists, lawyers and donations!!

  97. florence baudin says:

    Lancer´s letter about health care is telling the truth , about american citizens being able to get FREE care if he or she cannot afford it ….only idiots are against it….maybe you who are against it should get very sick …and see …what happens even if you have private insurance, on the other hand it should be controlled and not give free care as we have here in Europe , honourable citizen of any country should NOT have to pay for illigal immigrants , but this only rises the topic of too many political games etc…. YES people should get free health care …or like we have in Europe , contribuing thru the ” social security system ” which is you get your health care paid by your own taxes either thru you or your employer or both !!! there …

  98. florence baudin says:

    I only want to add that it takes a lot of guts for someone like Lance who I guess is a republican to come out and say what he said . Bravo Lance …you should have entered the TDF as wanting to be Nº 1 , not settle for 2nd or 3rd ….you were accused of dopping back then because you were so good , how about Alberto ? is he snow white ??? looks to me like he´s pretty dopped up …so he´s good , so what ! I still prefer Lance , who has more charisma , actually Contador has NONE.he´s a jerk.Armstrong YES YOU CAN

  99. florence baudin says:

    3rd and last comment as what I have to say doesnt fit in that tiny little square for comment . I know a spanish gentleman who worked with a cycling team ( wont give you the name ) he told me just 3 days ago that ALL cyclists take something to ” lift ” them up …and so do all other athletes in other sports…but somehow the cyclists are the BLACK sheep of sports .Back to Health care , you in the US are FAR behind many countries in health matters , what a shame , the most powerful country in the world

  100. Marcus Valdes says:


    You are an awesome athlete. Your politics suck. I guess now that we know you are a true liberal. Nationalized health care in other countries is not working. It will not work here.

    Good luck on Ventoux, I will be pulling for you.

  101. David says:

    I live in the UK. 3 weeks ago I was diagnosed with prostate cancer. I’ve been offered a range of treatments within 31 days – I’ve also been told I can have the latest Ultrasound therapy (HIFU) which isn’t even available in the US.
    None of this will cost me a penny above the normal taxes that we Brits willingly pay to ensure that healthcare becomes a human right. Don’t believe the myth that nationalised healthcare = impossible waiting lists and second-class service. It doesn’t – just ask the French.

  102. John Cantu says:

    Lance-Your accomplishments and tenacity speak for themselves. You’ve done well on a bike too! Hopefully folks will keep things in perspective as to what you stand for and what should be most important to everybody in real life…being a loyal and responsible teammate, no matter who is wearing the ‘yellow jersey’. Thanks for keeping your head on straight and the message you are delivering to the next generation.

  103. leisl says:

    You are a Global Hero! God Bless you and all your endeavors, I don’t have enough fingers and toes for those I’ve lost to Cancer including my mom at age 10. You Rock!! I would really love to see you in the Yellow tomorrow, you have all you need in you and more than those 25 year olds 🙂 I wish you could see how you’ve been tearing them up! keep on keepin on!! P.S. I would love to have your TOUR # it’s my B-day, I can dream!
    Sincerely you are my hero,
    eternal thanks…………………………..see you something special in Paris

  104. Laurie Santa Fe, NM says:

    Well Lance, I commend you for coming back to cycling. Watching the tour without your presence has not been the same! You knew that this would not be easy or a shoe in. Yet, you rode bringing your message of Living Strong and you rode with the same poetry you always have. More importantly Lance, your gift to cycling will be your continued work with young cyclists and bringing the message of Living Strong to all people. For this, you are the winner! I believe that cancer gave you a gift of living your life above the cheers of the crowd and yellow jersies. Thanks for being a winner and sharing your victory with all of us!
    Be well and happy!

  105. Amanda says:

    Lance, I’m so thankful that you have been working so hard to spread the word about cancer. I’ve lost multiple relatives to different types of cancer, and I always fear that I’ll get it myself. I’m very glad that you’re helping raise money and awareness about this cold-hearted killer that’s affecting many people daily. You’re an inspiration to everyone. And I also hope that in America, Barack Obama’s health care plan will go through. How is it that we’re entitled to freedom, justice, and democracy, but not health?

    Keep riding and spreading the word,

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