By Jessica Mullins/Around&about editor

Some wear it in honor of a victim and others in honor of a survivor. Many wear it for the cause, and others have their own personal meaning for wearing it. No matter the reason, all have a common understanding when they see it. From young to old, students to professors, many individuals can be seen wearing what seems to be a plain yellow wristband. However, it is much more than an accessory.

The yellow wristbands were created through the Lance Armstrong Foundation to raise awareness and money for cancer research.

According to the LAF Web site, Lance Armstrong, an American cyclist and six-time winner of the Tour de France, created the foundation after he was diagnosed with cancer at the age of 25.

Throughout his battle with cancer, Armstrong stuck with a motto to “live strong” and continued fighting for his life.
Armstrong continues with his foundation in educating, advocating and researching cancer.

To raise money for cancer research, LAF partnered with Nike to create a symbol that not only represented Armstrong’s battle with cancer but the nearly 10 million people living with cancer today, according to the LAF Web site. Therefore, the symbol became the yellow wristband with the inscription “Live Strong.”

According to the Web site, Armstrong said,”Before cancer I just lived. Now I live strong.”
It is appropriate that the wristband is yellow, as that is the color of the jersey the leader of the Tour de France wears.

Not only does Armstrong wear a yellow wristband to represent his battle with cancer, many people across the world also sport the unique emblem, including faculty and students at Eastern.

Megan Purcell, assistant professor in special education, owns a yellow wristband and wore it during the 2004 Tour de France in honor of not only Armstrong but her brother, who was diagnosed with cancer two years ago.

“The purpose of wearing the armband was a family recognition of what my brother and of what Lance Armstrong went through,” Purcell said. “They were both young, healthy men with families (when they got cancer).”

Alex Davis, a sophomore forensic science major from Fort Fill, Okla., wears his ‘LiveStrong’ wristband in honor of his mother, who is a breast cancer survivor.

“My mom had breast cancer, so I starting wearing the wristband to signify her struggle,” Davis said.

He also wears the wristband in support of LAF because the foundation gave finances to the group that helped his mother get the treatments and medical services that she needed.

University photographer Chris Radcliffe also wears a yellow symbol for cancer.

“I am a Lance Armstrong fan, but the main reason I wear it is in support of his cancer-research foundation,” Radcliffe said. “My family has a long history of cancer, so I also wear it in honor of that.”

Sara Talbott, a general dietetics major from Lexington, wears a wristband in honor of all victims and survivors of cancer.

“I wear it in honor of cancer survivors in general,” Talbott said. “Although cancer does run in my family, it can happen to anyone.”

The wristbands can be purchased on the LAF Web site as well as various Niketown locations, according to the LAF Web site.

Each wristband costs $1 and the foundation hopes to raise $5 million for research. Nike will donate an additional $1 million to the foundation as well as continue to support what is called their Wear Yellow Live Strong campaign.

According to an LAF press release, “The money raised through the Wear Yellow Live Strong campaign will give us new opportunities to provide leadership, resources and support for people, especially young people living with cancer,” said Mitch Stoller, president and C.E.O. of the LAF.

For more information on the Lance Armstrong Foundation and how to order ‘LiveStrong’ wristbands, visit www.laf.org or www.wearyellow.com.

Reach Jessica at
jessica_mullins55@eku.edu