Remember the CD “Driven” from the Ride for the Roses weekend in Austin several years back? One of the tracks was I Won’t Go Hollywood. Heading to the staging area for the ride at oh-dark-thirty that weekend, attempting to blow out the windows of my truck with that CD, never did I expect you to “ go Hollywood.”
As a two-time cancer survivor (most recently in the summer of 2012) who was active in the LAF since 2002 and then LiveStrong, native Texan and decent cyclist back in my day, I have struggled with a myriad of emotions during and following your Oprah interview.
Anger, betrayal, forgiveness, doubting your sincerity, relief that you finally admitted to doping, gratitude for the inspiration I received during my darkest hours.
If you had looked into the camera, looked at us, and simply said, “I’m sorry,” I and so many others may have taken that first step on the path towards forgiving, believing and supporting you once again.
It’s unfortunate that you did not take the opportunity to make connection with all of us who supported you over the years. I’m not talking about just your brothers and sisters in survivorship, but all the others who wore yellow, cyclists of all levels who cheered you through the Tours, your family, your friends and so many others whose names one would recognize. All you had to do was look into the camera and talk to us.
The most unfortunate aspect of this entire mess is that it appears you still just don’t “get it.” What saddens me even more is the possibility that you have not learned to open yourself to feel true empathy, respect, compassion and, yes, even unconditional love, for others – and to be open to receiving the same.
My hope for you is that this process may take you to a place where you will be able to do this. My hope is that you will emerge from this ordeal not completely broken in spirit, but with a cleansing that takes you to your knees and a return to that place where your heart’s vision sees what is truly to be valued. It’s not the “stuff” in our lives; it’s the people – our friends and family and the love, laughter and respect we share with one another.
Lance, you still have the opportunity to turn your life around and do an enormous amount of good. I encourage you to take the time to listen to a few, just a few, of the stories of how you inspired others to keep going through the darkness of despair and back into the light of Life. In doing so, I hope you would realize and be moved by how much help you have already given others when they so needed a reason to keep going one more day.
I am one of those people.
You have been, and still can, be an inspiration to your brothers and sisters in survivorship. It won’t be easy. Your credibility is shot. You have betrayed our trust. Overall it will not be a pleasant road back and it will be a long one. You just thought those cobblestones in Belgium were rough. You haven’t seen anything yet.
If you make the choice to dedicate yourself to doing the work, we’re waiting.
We’re waiting for you to reach out to us (the cancer community), and to see you reaching out to those you have wronged even more severely. Show us your defenses have cracked, that you are truly sorry for the pain and chaos you have inflicted and that you are ready to do the work that can change lives, including yours, for the better. Come clean without reservation to whatever governing bodies request your attendance. Take your punishment with grace and humility.
Not everyone will forgive you; however, there will be some of us who will hold out a hand and help you stand tall again.
It’s up to you. Are you ready to cowboy up and get to work?