May 20th, 2005
What a kick! Spencer and I got to see Lance Armstrong in person and we were on two local news reports tonight. We were interviewed for stories on KEYE and KVUE by the teams out covering the 24 Hour Fitness Lance Armstrong Sport Club grand opening. Both stories include shots of Spencer decked out in 37 live*Strong* wrist bands and bits of interviews with me. Spencer interviewed with the KVUE guy, but got shy about talking so they didn’t get much usable audio. For me, it was a great chance to talk a little about why I volunteer at the LAF, participate in the Peloton Project, and tell some of Spencer’s story. I think Spencer mostly liked the popcorn. And seeing Lance. And having Lance see him and comment on his wrist bands.
This was the grand finale in a series of three grand opening events. For the openings, 24 Hour Fitness has been holding cycling classes for free with a $24 donation to the Lance Armstrong Foundation for each rider (up to $24,000 total). Tonight, they presented the check for $24,000 to the Foundation. We had already attended the grand opening at the 24 Hour Fitness near us, but couldn’t pass up the chance to see Lance. Spencer went in full liveStrong reglia. This morning, while I was getting dressed, Spencer used his ninja skills to sneak into the study, grab a couple bags of wrist bands, and sneak them out under the piano so he could put them on. He counted 38 wrist bands as we drove to school this morning.
While Spencer was at school, I spent my morning preparing roses for table decorations for theLAF gala tomorrow night. Rumor has it that a photo of Spencer is in the video they’ll be showing at the gala. I’ll dig around next week and see if I can find a copy.
The rest of the day was at the Hancock Center where there is a new 24 Hour Fitness Lance Armstrong Sport Club. I did a cycling class to help make sure the donation to the LAF was as large as possible, and also because it’s a nice part of my own training. Spencer spent the first hour in the Kid’s Club playing. While I was riding, some kind person involved in the event came over and gave me a Discovery Team jersey for Spencer to wear. I don’t know where the gift came from (probably 24 Hour Fitness or Bicycle Sport Shop?), but Spencer loves it. Then we grabbed some dinner and checked out the club. One of the 24 Hour Fitness staff gave Spencer another wrist band to add to his collection and when he was playing with some other kids he gave 2 away.
During the 6:00-7:00 cycling class, we headed up to be by the front of the stage so we could get a good look at Lance. We were right behind the media area, so naturally Spencer attracted some attention. Kevin Peters, the brave reporter from KVUE, tried to get Spencer to tell his story. It was kind of weird. Spencer can be so amazing at connecting people and sharing what’s happening to him, why he loves Lance, why the wrist bands are special to him, and his goal to raise money and ride in the Ride for the Roses. For poor Kevin, Spencer was silent as the Sphinx. Elizabeth Dannheim from KEYE came over and interviewed me and we talked for a bit afterwards.
When we got home, I scheduled both news shows to record so we wouldn’t miss either story and they were both wonderful to watch. Both stories had footage of Spencer and interviews with me. The KVUE story was coverage of the event that included a shot of Spencer and a bit from the interview with me that emphasized what Lance has done to give back to other cancer survivors. The KEYE story was actually built around Spencer, his cancer, his liveStrong attitude, segments of the interview with me, and, oh yeah, that Lance guy, too.
This is all on top of an interview I did at the LAF earlier this week to be part of their profiles. They’re adding profiles of a staff members, a cancer survivor, a cancer caregiver, a volunteer, and probably a couple of other categories I forgot. I think there are going to be seven categories because it’s part of a campaign they are building to focus around Lance’s attempt at a seventh Tour de France victory. I got to babble to Jennifer in LAF Public Relations and force her to condense my ramblings to a cohesive and concise paragraph that expressed the core of why I volunteer at the LAF (and do the other things I do). This is not quite a quote, but
My father died of multiple myeloma, my mother is breast cancer survivor, and my mother-in-law died of breast cancer. When I was attending a Ride for the Roses event last year, my son Spencer came down with a fever and on October 22, he was diagnosed with leukemia. So many people have helped my family in so many ways, I need to pay that back and the best way I can see to do that is help cancer survivors. The work I do volunteering for the LAF does that every day in a concrete and obvious way.