In July of 2003, while lying on my couch recovering from my amputation, Scott casually tuned the television channel to the Tour de France. In too much pain, I didn't complain about being forced to watch grown men pedal their way across France. In my medicated daze, I was content that Scott was occupied so that I would be left alone to sleep.
Within a few days I began to understand the sport of cycling. Not only did I start to enjoy the coverage, I became a Lance Armstrong fan. I learned about his story and drew strength from the fact that not only did he survive against the odds, but that he came back stronger after he was knocked down. His story was precisely what I needed to motivate me during my recovery.
Since that difficult summer, Lance Armstrong has continued to be a personal role model. He started Livestrong as a way to help others who were battling cancer. I admire that Armstrong continues to remember what he experienced and feels compelled to reach back and help others on their cancer journey.
My efforts through AmputeeMommy are based on the same beliefs. Knowing that somebody else might feel less frightened and more empowered because I shared my experiences makes dealing with my own amputation a little easier. I suppose I am still trying to put a purpose and a positive spin on such a devastating loss.
The past few days the news reports surrounding Lance Armstrong have been
brutal. He has been called a cheat, a liar and a drug abuser. His 7
Tour de France victories have been stripped and his cycling records have
been left in shambles.
When I heard the news last Friday, I broke down in tears. It's always painful when a hero falls! After some contemplation, I realized that he did not become my hero because of his feats on the bike. Rather, he earned my admiration because of what he chose to do with his fame. Livestrong is an amazing support system for cancer patients. Because of this organization, I am proud to declare that I am a cancer survivor.
During that summer of 2003, I was given something that I desperately needed. For me, Armstrong became a symbol of hope. For the first time since losing my leg, I began to imagine a life where I could be both happy and active. His titles and stage wins may be nullified in the record books, but he will always be the epitome of a champion because of what was accomplished when he stepped off the bike.