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‘Livestrong’ bracelets support cause, not fad

9 September 2004 By Lauren Tilley No Comments

‘Livestrong’ bracelets support cause, not fad

Last week my buddy Mike asked me, ‘What are these yellowwristbands? I’ve been seeing them everywhere!’ Andwhile I was sitting at lunch with my friend Andrew, he said,’That girl has the same bracelet as you do’hellip;and so doesthat guy, and that guy.’

The Lance Armstrong phenomenon is here. It seems that thesewristbands are taking over as a new fashion fad. They’reyellow, they’re rubber, they’re ugly and they’reeverywhere.

Lance Armstrong, the famed cyclist, won 50 gajillion bike racesbefore he was diagnosed with testicular cancer. After thediagnosis, he went on to win 50 gajillion more. He started afoundation for the education and support of those living withcancer, the Lance Armstrong Foundation. The foundation’s mostrecent fund-raising effort came in the form of yellow rubberybracelets. For a buck that goes to support LAF, you can receiveyour very own wristband with ‘LIVESTRONG’ etched in theside.

These wristbands do not discriminate. Everyone, and I meaneveryone, wears them.

But why are we wearing them? Is it because we want to donate toArmstrong’s cause? Do we feel the urge every now and then tolook down at our wrists and remember to live strong? Or do we wantto just follow the fad?

Unfortunately, this seems like the fad is outrunning the cause.Sporting goods stores are completely sold out of these littlebabies.

I’m pretty sure a lot of people paid their dollar topurchase a bracelet to show their support, not even knowing theywere donating to a foundation. No, Dick’s didn’t keepthat money.

To presume that some people who have bought the bracelet do noteven know who Lance Armstrong is would be pretty far fetched. Butthere had to be a percentage of people who have bought these thingswithout knowing that Armstrong had cancer.

I did not enter the wristband craze until a few weeks ago. I hadseen my cousin wearing one, along with a few guys at work, andthought nothing of purchasing one myself. But, I have a medicalcondition similar to Armstrong’s (although it doesn’taffect my testicles), and three weeks ago I underwent my secondsurgery for my condition. I started thinking about Armstrong andhow he battles to ‘live strong’ every day, and Ithought, ‘Hell, I’ve got to live strong too.’

I’m not implying that I’m more justified to sport awristband because I’m suffering medically. Everyone has areason to ‘live strong.’ Even if there is no suchreason, people can at least support Armstrong’s cause.

But please, be informed of what you’re representing beforeyou buy into this fad. I’m not going to harp too much on thatfact. Be a part of the fad if need be; LAF gets its dollar. But youshouldn’t buy a wristband for $31 on eBay just to fit in. LAFwon’t ever see that money, but whoever the top bidder is willat least be hip to the trend.

They’re all sold out, even on Armstrong’s Web site.But maybe you should just donate anyway. Come on, $31 dollars for arubber bracelet? Wouldn’t it be better to just buy 31wristbands when they’re restocked on the shelves?

Maybe I’m just following the fad too; who knows how longI’m going to wear my wristband. But what’s important isthe thought. My heart speaks to the foundation.

Lauren Tilley is a junior English major and TheTowerlight’s associate arts editor.

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