Why I Changed My Mind About The Bracelet

Last year when we first started this train ride called cancer, the yellow LiveStrong bracelets were still all the rage — it was almost a fashion statement to wear one. Soon, all kinds of rubber bracelets with all kinds of logos and clever lines started popping up. Teenagers were wearing three or four colored rubber bracelets, and the idea of the Lance Armstrong Foundation (LAF) and its Live Strong tag line were lost in a sea of hipness.

But today, I put one on my wrist for the first time — and so did Dawn. Somewhere inside I still have a nagging fear that it is a superficial gesture, but it’s not. If one person asks me about it, I’ll be able to educate someone about cancer. That’s good enough for me.

The bracelet is also a reminder. It’s a reminder to stay on top of this disease, a reminder to not let it get the best of my head, because if it does it may start to win. And we can’t have that.

The other day, Talish Barrow came over and we conducted a mock interview on camera in order to practice and discuss our eventual interviews of people affected by cancer for the Cancer Stories Project. During our discussion, Talish mentioned an interview with a doctor that he saw on the PBS special “Take One Step: The Truth About Cancer.” The doctor, Talish told me, in effect debunked the Live Strong motto, and chalked Armstrong’s triumph over his out-of-control cancer more to luck than the the cyclist’s ability to overcome any obstacle through sheer force of will. And I’m sure, at least to some extent, that’s true.

But still, there is something to be said for fighting back. And there’s something to be said for creating awareness, which I like to think the bracelet may help do. (whew, this post is full of poor sentences — sorry!)

I’m also really impressed with LAF, its mission, and how it has been carrying out its mission. One very cool feature that LAF provides for cancer patients is something called “Losta Helping Hands.” It’s an online calendar and networking tool that makes it easier for family and friends to coordinate with a cancer patient in their lives. It’s practical stuff for dealing with the day to day needs and issues of living with cancer — especially for those in treatment.

What else can I say except…Live Strong. For me, for Dawn, for everyone out there battling cancer or standing by the side of someone who is. If you’d like to wear a Live Strong bracelet to show your support of Dawn and I, you can buy them for a mere dollar at http://www.laf.org — otherwise, if you’re here in Madison, I have several extras that I’d be more than happy to share.


10 Responses to “Why I Changed My Mind About The Bracelet”

  1. Thank you very much for your kind words. The LAF offers support to all people affected by cancer through our LIVESTRONG SurvivorCare Program. Some of the services offered are free one-on-one counseling by professional oncology social workers, treatment decision assistance, clinical trial matching services, financial assistance, help with claim denials, job retention assistance, the “Lotsa Helping Hands” service and more. All services are free and confidental. Family members, patients, loved ones, surviors, etc can access services online at http://www.livestrong.org/cancersupport or by calling 1-866-235-7205. We hope that people take advantage of the services. We are here to help!

  2. Thanks for reading — and for the useful info.

  3. Mike, I saw your bracelet yesterday first thing. I thought it was shiny!

  4. Ann Kjerulf Knien Says:

    Hey Mike,
    Storm and I went ahead and got the 10 pack of bracelets. We will pass the extras around to friends in Austin. I actually used to wear a pink bracelet for Breast Cancer awareness/ supporting the fight every day in Boston. For some reason I stopped this when we moved to Austin…
    Storm and I are thinking of you and Dawn as you battle this. We send our love and support daily. Please let us know if there is anything we can do. You can beat this thing!
    All our love,
    Ann and Storm

  5. Ann & Storm — that’s awesome, thanks for buying the bracelets.

  6. There are teal ovarian cancer bracelets. The proliferation of pink ones out there are beginning to piss me off, which I know isn’t a good reaction, because everyone needs awareness and what have you, but I can’t help it. It pisses me off–even with a cousin who is facing the very real possibility of a breast cancer diagnosis. But where is the teal-colored cereal, M&M’s, etc.? Feh.

  7. Teal? Teal?!? Hmmm…well, I wear my yellow bracelet for everyone.

  8. Hi Dawn and Mike
    I would love to have a braclet to wear while I walk in the Gilda Radner walk/run this weekend. Do you have another or can I get one locally?
    Have you heard of the Gilda Radner house? Check it out at http://www.gildasclubmadison.org. When I walk this Saturday, I will be walking for you guys, in your honor!!!! Your strong and God is with you.

  9. I had actually registered to be at the new member meeting today for Gilda’s Club, but was at the clinic instead. I’m not sure I would have had the energy anyway. I think we have one or two left here somewhere. Please feel free to stop by and grab one from us whenever you can. — mike

  10. Hi Mike
    I work with Dawn at PSA. If she is working this week maybe you could send one with her. Stay strong Mike. You can do this and that “stuff” that is making you so sick is healing you. Let it! I know it’s hard to see it as the “savior” and not the “enemy”. I’ve been in your shoes. It sucks!!! I am sending positive, healing thoughts your way.

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