CHICAGO (AP) — The president of a cancer charity founded by Lance Armstrong insists that the organization will persevere in the wake of the cyclist’s admission that he used performance-enhancing drugs.
The Livestrong Foundation’s president, Doug Ulman, was scheduled to deliver what the organization described as a “major ‘State of the Foundation’ speech” on Thursday in Chicago.
“Our success has never been based on one person,” Ulman said in remarks prepared for the annual gathering of Livestrong charity leaders, grantees and others. “Will the Livestrong Foundation survive? Yes. Absolutely, yes. Hell, yes.”
Armstrong stepped down as chairman of the charity in October, saying he didn’t want his association to damage the foundation’s ability to raise money and continue its advocacy programs on behalf of people with cancer.
Originally called the Lance Armstrong Foundation, the cyclist created the organization in Austin, Texas, a year after he was diagnosed with testicular cancer that had spread to his brain and lungs. Doctors gave him 50-50 odds of surviving.
Armstrong admitted during an interview with Oprah Winfrey this year that he used performance-enhancing drugs when he won seven straight Tour de France titles. He told Winfrey that leaving Livestrong was the most “humbling” experience after the revelations about his drug use broke.
“I wouldn’t at all say forced out, told to leave,” he told Winfrey about Livestrong. “I was aware of the pressure. But it hurt like hell.
“That was the lowest,” Armstrong said. “The lowest.”
Armstrong’s personal fortune had sustained a big hit days earlier. One by one, his sponsors called to end their associations with him: Nike; Trek Bicycles; Giro, which manufactures cycling helmets and other accessories; Anheuser-Busch.
“That was a $75 million day,” Armstrong said.
“That just went out of your life,” Winfrey said.
“Gone,” he replied.