In the Mission Booth at the LIVESTRONG Village, there stand two 12-foot pillars, 16 feet apart, each with the word ?LIVESTRONG,? written on them. Running in between these pillars are lines of string. Yet, it?s what?s attached to these pieces of string that connect the pillars, that give meaning to the word written on each of the pillars, and that connect all of us. Over the course of this weekend, I watched as Challenge participants, volunteers, and staff came by and wrote on yellow pieces of paper messages of love, strength, hope, inspiration, wherewithal, and perseverance. There was one yellow piece of paper in particular that stood out to me. On it, someone had stamped the phrase ?Unity is Strength,? and below that, this person had written in permanent marker, ?Amen!?
This one word carries with is such significance in so many ways, yet can be defined as simply as, ?so be it??an affirmation of something true. Throughout the weekend, I saw people come and place their messages on the Connection Wall in the Mission Booth. Throughout the weekend, I watched a community build, grow, grow stronger in its unity, its one solemn mission. I watched as people rode their bicycles a hundred miles, gritting their teeth, compelled to pump their legs one more time, then another, and then another??this ride?s almost over. Amen.? I watched as some came together in memory of someone they loved??and we carry their memory with us. Amen.?
This weekend, 7,000 LIVESTRONG Challenge participants and volunteers came together in Philadelphia to fight cancer. Together, this community raised more than $3 million for this fight. We stood together and showed how strong we can be as one, personifying the phrase that, ?Unity is Strength.? And if cancer is going to continue coming into our homes threatening the lives of those we love, then so be it. We will stand as one strong and determined body here to fight and to carry this to the end. So, game on, cancer. We?re here to win. Amen!