At the onset it is easy to just brush off the Lance Armstrong/Oprah interview. I mean it has nothing to do with diabetes, right? Well directly, no it doesn’t. I watched this train wreck of an interview and there is a good chance that if I watch again tonight, it will only be so I can say I watched it all the way through. I watched part one, and that may have been more than enough for any one person to withstand.
And man was I angry. Weren’t you angry?
I was angry for a whole list of reasons. He was so calm, so relaxed, and so matter-of-fact. Not only did he destroy people’s lives with bullying and false accusations; he turned around and sued anyone for the privilege of defending themselves against him.
Sometimes saying, ‘I’m sorry’ just will not cut it; this is such a case and I believe the weight of this, at some point, is just going to be way too much for him to carry but then again, it was clear last night in the interview, we have no idea who he is anymore; or for that matter who he ever may have been.
But much will be written about him and his behavior. Type the words Lance Armstrong/Oprah in Google search and you will see over five hundred million different sites. People will write about this, and talk about it, for years.
My concern while watching the interview was different. I did not really hear that much that I did not expect as just too many people were saying things that just ‘did not add up’. I was shocked how ‘staged’ and ‘prepared’ he was for the interview. But my concern was a bigger picture.
My concern was about ‘his’ foundation. Those of us who are in the field of philanthropy are truly grateful when a celebrity comes forward and says this cause is important to them and offers to get involved. I have had the incredible honor to work along many celebs who have stepped up and said, “How can I help?” This honor is only surpassed by the many volunteers who are involved only for the reason that diabetes is important to them. We cherish all those who choose to get involved at any level big or small.
It was clear to any of us who follow such involvement with celebs just how quickly Armstrong’s Foundation went from obscurity to powerhouse organization. Envious of the powerful reach to do good. Unfortunately, the fall will be just as fast. I have not much regard for the meaning to him personally which he bought upon himself, but so many more will lose from this whole mess; and I am pretty sure nothing will stop it. The reputation of any organization is its strength–when the foundation is built around one person who is now admitting everything he was, he isn’t; the foundation is not tarnished, it is ruined.
Many people who received help from his organization stand to lose big time and it’s my hope that other organizations dealing with cancer look to help those who needed that foundation. Those who know me know that it is always about people. And many people and their families who suffer greatly with cancer are losers in this just as much as those who were personally affronted by Armstrong’s tactics.
It’s a shame.
This entire incident has the entire world of philanthropy scratching their heads. We know the advantages of having such a big name attached to fund-raising efforts. I’m a true believe that committees are the strength of an event. Having celebrities at an event is a good thing but the ‘raising’ money part is done because of the hard work of a great committee. When a foundation is started by an individual in their own name; the success of it rests squarely on the shoulders of the founder. In this case the founder’s shoulders crumbled to the ground.
I applaud the people who stood up and questioned the wrong being done. The torment they faced must have been unbearable. Nothing can take away that pain. Truth prevailed, it always does; albeit painfully at times. How could such a thing have ever happened?
Armstrong built a foundation of sand which, as is done in such cases, when tested strongly will always wash away. Too many will be hurt in all of this; people who were only trying to do good. Many of us in this field cherish those people and know they are the backbone of any organization. They were only trying to help others. They will be crushed. And it is here where we all lose. This must never be allowed to happen again.
I am a diabetes dad.