Photo credit: Laurent Rebours/AP/Wide World Photo
Shortly after, Lance was diagnosed with testicular cancer. The news was grim. The advanced cancer had already spread: Lance's lungs were filled with tumors and there were lesions on his brain. Doctors didn't know if he would survive. Though they said his chances of survival were 40 to 50 percent, Lance later learned that his doctor said his case was among the very worst he'd ever seen.
But Lance was seriously determined to beat cancer. "I'm entering this battle in probably the best shape of my life," he said at the time. "As soon as my wounds heal from the surgery, I'm going be on a bike."
He had the cancerous testicle removed, brain surgery and months of harrowing experimental chemotherapy. Amazingly, within three months the cancer was in remission and Lance was training again.
Linda had Lance when she was just 17. As a single mother, she often worked two jobs to provide for him. "Lance was a high-energy young man," she recalls. "Definitely like a little tornado that just fills that big urge to go off and show everybody, 'Hey, watch me. I can do this.'"
"She was everything to me," Lance says. "She was my coach. She was my friend. She was my motivator. She was my nutritionist. She was my driver. You know, everything. Cheerleader. She was everything to me when I was a kid. So naturally, when I got older and I would get in a tough situation, I would call her. And the one thing that she always stressed to me wasn't, like, 'You've got to win today, son.' Or, 'Go out there and win.' [But instead], 'Just give it your best and don't quit. Don't ever quit.' And that carries through, even today. That's my attitude either in a bike race or an illness or talking to somebody that's just been diagnosed [with cancer or an illness]: just don't quit. And I got all that from her."
So far, 32 million people have sported this symbol of cancer awareness meaning $32 million has been raised!
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Oprah: Had you been a fan of hers and you and fan of his before you connected?
Lance: I don't know about her, but I was a fan. I never asked her.
Sheryl: Definitely. I mean, it's an incredible story. Plus…he's really cute, don't you think?
"It's so much more fun and the personalities are so much more interesting than in rock and roll," says Sheryl Crow. "I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know all the teammates, their dedication, and interesting people from all over the world. They've got 70 nationalities on their own team and it was really, for me, a learning experience and also really joyful. It really took me out of my own world and when I came back … I really missed his world."
After undergoing treatment for breast cancer, Andree was in remission for more than four years. Then, just shy of the five-year mark, her cancer came back.
Despite the weekly chemotherapy she'll have the rest of her life, this mother and first grade teacher's spirits are always up. Fighting cancer every step of the way with her optimistic attidude, Andree and her husband have even turned her chemo appointments into date days!
Throughout her battle, Andree has had one role model, one person she's looked to for inspiration. "Lance," says Andree, "You are my hero. I am in the fight of my life right now and there are days when I can't go on and just wake up and don't want to fight anymore. … You need to know that I just look down at this LIVESTRONG™ [wristband] every single day and you just remind me to live strong. Attitude, prayers, and family and friends are just everything."
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