day of week

Want to Meet Lance Armstrong?

19 January 2009

Lance ArmstrongI got an email last week, out of the blue, inviting me to interview the American cycling champion and cancer campaigner Lance Armstrong while he is in Adelaide, South Australia. Lance is participating in the Tour Down Under Professional Cycling Race.

Who is Lance Armstrong, you might ask? If I wasn’t married to my husband, I also probably wouldn’t know.

But I do, because my husband and Lance Armstrong have something in common – they have both survived testicular cancer. My husband has actually survived testicular cancer twice.

Lance Armstrong, on the other hand, has only had testicular cancer once, but he is world famous because he has won what is probably the world’s most grueling and agonising sports event (The Tour de France) SEVEN times – and he did this AFTER he recovered from cancer.

So Lance Armstrong has become a very powerful public symbol for overcoming cancer, and living a full life. He has created a charitable foundation LIVESTRONG that has raised hundreds of millions of dollars for cancer research, and he hangs around with people like past and present Presidents of the United States. He inspires people.

I politely emailed back, and explained that I wasn’t a journalist, and my blog isn’t about sport, and that there must be some mistake with the invitation.

They emailed me straight away, and said, there was “no mistake”. They specifically invited me because of my interest in raising funds for cancer research, and because I have a cancer surviving story to share. I am apparently one of only two face-to-face interviews Lance will be giving the whole time he is in Australia. The other was with Australia’s national newspaper (The Australian).

My next problem was that… I am quite pregnant, I had only two days notice of this meeting, and Lance is in another Australian city, which will take three hours of flying time to get there. All of the flights available were at inconvenient times, since it is the school holidays, and lots of cycling fans are going to see Lance ride in Adelaide.

As well as this, the media people can’t tell me the exact location or time of my meeting with Lance because of “security concerns”.

AND my son had swimming lessons every morning for the next two weeks. It was all very sudden, and getting way too hard.

So I asked myself a question.

Would I fly to Adelaide in these circumstance to meet one of the world’s most famous fashion designers? Answer – No way. I LOVE fashion, but I wouldn’t inconvenience my family AND add unnecessary stress in our lives to talk to someone who designs clothes.

But, raising awareness about the need for cancer research? Well, yes. Yes I would.

So I did.

I flew to Adelaide. I met Lance Armstrong. I interviewed him. I told him my story.

And I am so glad I did!

I just got back and I’m exhausted. I’ll post the interview as soon as I can write it up.