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What The Yellow Wristband Means To Me

  • Oct 7, 2009
Let's face it, it takes a lot to deal with cancer.

While October serves as a month of awareness for it's potential to take away precious life, for millions of people in the US alone, this is unfortunately an everyday routine - acknowledging the realities of a cancer diagnosis. For myself personally, I've been deep in the trenches, fighting the war on cancer in my community, my family and even in my own life. For every person I have lost to the disease, including my own parent, it is my personal goal to help a million others who are currently living with it. It's a goal/struggle that has stayed face to face with other priorities such as school and work, and despite how committed I am to fighting back cancer, at times energy and focus within myself runs low. There is so much work to be done in this fight. Projects focused on things like service, education, research and awareness - let alone finding a cure - continue to pile up endlessly among non-profits and charity organizations, leaders and volunteers, physicians and patients and most desperate of all: families.

In the moments where I become overwhelmed with thinking about all that needs to be done, there has been one small symbol of spirit that never fails to remind me why we are all fighting in the first place. The Lance Armstrong Wristband has become a household item throughout America and has served as the cancer community's rallying cry. It's been our American flag, our grand prix trophy, our white home jerseys. It is what the cancer community holds onto when all is lost, and it's what I look to when I become lost myself.

The idea is simple: you purchase a Livestrong wristband for $1 and proceeds go to benefit the Lance Armstrong Foundation which is perhaps the world's best known cancer charity to date. Since 2004, over 70 million wristbands have been sold, leading to a huge supply of resources to the Foundation which continues to do extraordinary work.


But beyond the idea of raising money, the simple concept of wearing a yellow wristband to support cancer efforts has gone far beyond any benefit that $70 million dollars could provide. Seeing so many people wear the Livestrong wristband keeps me hopeful that today's world knows the crisis we are in, the changes we need to make and the help we need to give at this very moment of time. For me, it has given me a reason to stay involved, and to stay healthy.  It is the reason I stay motivated in planning my next volunteer project. It's my reminder to exercise and avoid unhealthy foods. It's my way of showing other cancer patients that I am right there with them. The Livestrong Wristband keeps me close to my fight and keeps me inspired and excited about helping others.

Lastly, in many ways the Livestrong wristband serves as today's black armband, and has transformed this traditional mourning piece for all those who have lost a loved one particularly to cancer.  Black armbands were worn for one year to remember a person who died, and after that, people eventually stopped wearing them. While I started wearing Livestrong to mourn the passing of my mother, I continue to wear it today to honor her. While the Livestrong wristband allowed me to live in solidarity with those who were affected by our loss, it's now given me a reason to be proud of our progress in a tragic struggle, and hope to continue her fight.

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April 23, 2010
I just got my first Livestrong wristband last year. When they first brought out these types of bands, I wasn't really into the yellow ones (not knowing at the time what they stood for). I was more into the LeBron ones, and different things like that. Then, last year, I got one at FinishLine when I was purchasing shoes and have worn it for the past year. In a way, it is a big motivator to try to eat healthy and exercise daily. I look at it when I don't feel like doing something.
January 22, 2010
I remember when the livestrong band was introduced in 2004. I worked at a bike shop at the time. One of my bike racing teammates gave me a band and asked me to wear for her husband, who had just been diagnosed with cancer. I didn't remove it from my wrist for two years, until he was clean + clear. Unfortunately (or fortunately), in those two years, the livestrong band (and the throngs of imitators for every event or cause you can imagine) became very trendy and I think many folks didn't even know why they were wearing them. Thank you for the reminder. Lorri
January 22, 2010
I definitely agree. It became a hip thing that was worn by celebrities, politicians and sports athletes. At one point, it became very easy to label it a fashion trend. I'm happy when I find people who look to it as a source of hope and pride. In that sense, the band is still very powerful to me.
October 14, 2009
It's stories like these that make people rally for the fight against cancer.  Great review, Angelo, and thanks so much for sharing your experience with us.
About the reviewer
Angelo Ignacio ()
Ranked #40
I'm a Filipino-American living life as a post undergrad making a start here in beautiful Los Angeles. I love the weather and diversity here and enjoy everything this city has to offer. I'm excited to … more
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The Lance Armstrong Foundation (LAF) is a United States501(c)(3)nonprofit organization that provides support for people affected by cancer, founded in 1997 by cancer survivor and champion cyclist Lance Armstrong. The LAF states that its mission is 'to inspire and empower' cancer sufferers and their families, under the motto "unity is strength, knowledge is power and attitude is everything". The LAF also aims to provide practical information and tools for cancer sufferers in a, public health and research. The organization is based in Austin, Texas.

The Livestrong wristband is a yellow silicone wristband (a gel bracelet) launched in May of 2004 as a fund-raising item for the Lance Armstrong Foundation. The wristband itself was developed by Nike and their ad agency Wieden+Kennedy.
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