This is a bit of a different Heroes in our Midst today.
There was a hero. A man whose feats were so unbelievable, he inspired millions of others to get up and ‘do’. To take the challenge. To fight on. To never give up.
He received many awards and rewards for his perseverance, his stamina, his choice to not quit but to forge on, in spite of the steepness of the road, the darkness of the weather and times. In spite of all that life threw at him, he kept fighting and climbed the highest pinnacle of success he could achieve.
And in the process, millions of others chose to not give in, or give up. Millions of others chose to pick up the gauntlet of making a difference, of being the difference they want to see in the world.
Lance Armstrong was stripped of his medals yesterday. And while it has not been proven in a court of law that he doped to achieve his best, in the court of our shared human condition, it would appear he did.
I don’t know that I wouldn’t have done the same in his position. I don’t know that I wouldn’t have given in to the lure of the drugs that could give me the edge to beat out my opponents, especially knowing my opponents were using and doing the same.
I don’t know.
I do know, what he accomplished through and after his battle with cancer is still remarkable. Inspiring. Exhilarating.
I do know that in his quest to not give into the disease, he inspired millions of others to do the same. And in his drive to use his fame to raise awareness and funds to fight the disease, he achieved huge success. I know people who have taken the Ride to Conquer Cancer because of Lance Armstrong’s inspiration. And I know how powerful that ride was in helping them to fight the disease that was eating away at their life or the life of someone they loved. Whether they lived to tell the tale of beating their disease, or not, their fight was inspired by this man’s drive to not let the disease get him. And in that act, he gave them hope, a sense of purpose, a belief in what they could achieve as long as they didn’t give up.
In the end, it is drugs that helped all of them beat cancer. And I know there’s nothing wrong with that.
For years I saw Lance Armstrong as a super-hero. A larger than life persona who even through his trademark arrogance, accomplished what no other man had ever achieved.
He may not be ‘super’ today, but he is still a hero. Because for me, Lance Armstrong fought a disease and won and he helped millions of others do the same.
Anyone can ride a bike. Not everyone beats cancer. And in life, beating cancer is the greater win.