Valley cancer survivors meet Armstrong admission with mixed emotions
On the same night the most accomplished cyclist in our nation’s history admitted he cheated, a Boise YMCA announced a partnership with that cyclist’s foundation. Video by IdahoOnYourSide.comvideo
On the same night the most accomplished cyclist in our nation’s history admitted he cheated, a Boise YMCA announced a partnership with that cyclist’s foundation.
“I got totally involved,” 64-year-old Mark Spiegel said. “I loved the people—not just the people who are running it but my fellow friends that I made who are in the program.”
Spiegel just finished the Y’s Livestrong program, after Doctors diagnosed him with head and neck cancer not even a year ago.
“Of course there’s an initial shock,” Spiegel said, “[wondering:] are you going to die?”
Spiegel disapproved of Lance Armstrong’s doping, but pointed to the hundreds of millions of dollars the cyclist raised for the fight against cancer as evidence that some good still exists in the Armstrong narrative.
“The man came back from cancer, a deadly cancer,” Spiegel said. “And he’s done a lot with the Livestrong program. He’s helped countless thousands of people.”
“He’s been there for when I was down so that’s about it,” 16-year-old Andy Fuss said. “I really don’t care what he’s been doing lately.”
Cancer doesn’t discriminate: Just last year, Fuss - a third-baseman at Columbia High School - beat the same cancer that infected Armstrong. The cyclist’s website, quotes and story of perseverance, Fuss said, gave him hope when he needed it most. So, it bothered him not that Armstrong cheated.
“It doesn’t faze me because that’s his personal life,” Fuss said. “I mean, if you watched, he came out and said it. I really only care about: He made it through it. He’s OK. He’s 100 percent. I’m OK. I made it too.”
It seemed, for at least one young cancer survivor, surviving all those months in a cancer ward trumped the former champ's unlikely survival in the ward of public opinion.
“There’s something [in Armstrong’s story] that [all cancer survivors] can relate to,” Spiegel said.