Having spent the last several days thinking about people whose lives were cut short due to cancer, I started to spin into some “survivor’s guilt”. What I mean by that is I start feeling bad that I am still here but others with cancer are not. Not really productive use of my time but that’s where my mind starts to go.
After spending some time in prayer about this struggle, I started to reflect on what my connection is to the cancer community and what is it that I represent as a cancer survivor.
That being said, I have made the decision to put my yellow LIVESTRONG bracelet back on. I am sure it will be met with mixed emotion. Some people will bring up Lance Armstrong and his fall from grace, others will say the bracelets aren’t “cool” anymore, if they ever were to begin with anyways.
Years ago, I wrote about why I was taking it off, but some recent events have made me re-think the band and what it and I represent. Feel free to read why I took it off here.
I used to think that the yellow bracelet was a connection to the cancer community. I wore it proudly as a stage-3 colon cancer survivor. I would notice others wearing it and wonder how they were somehow tied in to the cancer world.
Then the LIVESTRONG foundation blew up with the long awaited admission from Lance that he actually did take performance-enhancing drugs during his reign as Tour champion.
Since then, they have done a good job of distancing themselves from Lance and “re-branding” themselves as the great cancer organization that they were. Most people associated the organization with Lance and they needed to step out from his dark shadow and show the world the great things they are doing in the cancer community. I feel they have done a great job of moving on “Post Lance”, even amongst tremendous scrutiny and criticism.
But honestly, the LIVESTRONG organization is only a small reason I am putting the band back on. It’s what the letters on the band represent.
“LIVESTRONG” to me, means to "LIVE STRONG". I want to LIVE STRONGLY! I want to not only BE alive, but FEEL alive!
I want to LIVE STRONG for Jesus! I want people to know that I am a follower of Christ. I want to glorify God STRONGLY in my words, my thoughts, and my actions. I want to LIVE STRONG as a disciple of Christ and spread the great news about Jesus.
Joshua 1:9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.
I want to LIVE STRONG for my family! God has blessed me with the most beautiful wife and 4 great kids. As the leader of my family, I need to be STRONG for them. That means being present, open, honest, vulnerable, emotional, sensitive, funny, and a host of many other things.
Ecclesiastes 4:12 Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.
I want to LIVE STRONG for the cancer community. I want to be an inspiration to anybody I can be. If one person can find my testimony and cancer journey inspirational, then it will all be worth it. I participate in marathons because I can. I didn’t start running until after my cancer diagnosis. Hopefully by me doing them as long as God allows me to, maybe someone else will get some inspiration.
Jeremiah 17:14 Heal me, Lord, and I will be healed; save me and I will be saved, for you are the one I praise.
So the LIVESTRONG bracelet isn’t just about a cancer organization or some athlete. Perhaps it never was.
“A man ought to live so that everybody knows he is a Christian…and most of all, his family ought to know.”- D.L.Moody
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Steve DeLuca is a 12-year, stage 3 colon cancer survivor, acoustic neuroma brain tumor survivor, 22-time marathon finisher, 2007 Ironman Wisconsin finisher, happily married father of 4, and a follower of Jesus. Not all in that order.
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