SOURCE: LIVESTRONG

LIVESTRONG

February 16, 2011 07:00 ET

Statement by Lance Armstrong Regarding His Retirement From Professional Cycling and Full-Time Return to Cancer Fight

AUSTIN, TX--(Marketwire - February 16, 2011) - Today, Lance Armstrong, cycling champion, cancer survivor and founder and chairman of LIVESTRONG, released the following statement regarding his retirement from professional cycling:

"Today, I am announcing my retirement from professional cycling in order to devote myself full-time to my family, to the fight against cancer and to leading the foundation I established before I won my first Tour de France.

"In 2009, I returned to professional cycling with the LIVESTRONG Global Cancer Campaign to raise awareness of the toll taken by this disease. We've come a long way in two years, spurring new investments, strengthening partnerships with the cancer community and beginning to ease the stigma faced by millions of survivors. I'm humbled and grateful for the outpouring of support our campaign and our partners received. But we have a long way to go. Cancer is now the world's leading cause of death and for 28 million of us, survivorship is a daily fact of life.

"My focus now is raising my five children, promoting the mission of LIVESTRONG, and growing entrepreneurial ventures with our great corporate partners in the fight against cancer," said Armstrong.

"We couldn't be more proud of what Lance and the LIVESTRONG Global Cancer Campaign have achieved," said Doug Ulman, President and CEO of LIVESTRONG and three-time cancer survivor. "Lance gave the fight against cancer one of the biggest spotlights there is and thanks to his efforts, we've made great strides in raising awareness of the challenges faced by cancer survivors everywhere. Some day, five or ten years from now, the cancer community at large will reflect on 2009 and 2010 and realize that the progress we are witnessing around the world is a result of these efforts. We're fortunate to have Lance back full-time as a hands-on chairman for LIVESTRONG where he can help us capitalize on the great opportunities for progress that lie ahead."

"On behalf of the LIVESTRONG Board of Directors, I want to thank Lance for his unfailing devotion to our cause, for the great work he's done to spur global awareness of cancer and for his continuing commitment to 28 million survivors," said Mark McKinnon, Vice Chairman, Public Strategies, Inc. "Lance's return as a full-time leader for LIVESTRONG couldn't come at a better time. We have great opportunities and challenges ahead of us this year. "

Armstrong announced his return to professional cycling and the creation of the LIVESTRONG Global Cancer Campaign in September, 2008 at the Clinton Global Initiative in New York City. In January, 2009, the LIVESTRONG Global Cancer Campaign got underway at the Tour Down Under in Australia and continued to South Africa, Mexico, Europe and the United Kingdom. The Campaign, headlined publicly by Armstrong and joined by cancer organizations around the world, raised $120 million for the fight against cancer, increased awareness of its global toll and shed new light on its economic impact. It led to the creation of patient empowerment and anti-stigma pilot programs in South Africa and Mexico, joined by hard-working local cancer organizations. It blazed new trails in aligning for-profit enterprise with global health goals and received strong support from LIVESTRONG's corporate partners Nike, Trek, Giro, American Century Investments and RadioShack.

Highlights of the Campaign include:

  • LIVESTRONG's Global Cancer Summit in Dublin in 2009 resulted in 300 commitments to the fight against cancer, representing work in more than 60 countries around the world and an investment in cancer control of more than $200 million.
  • LIVESTRONG co-sponsored the World Cancer Congress in Shenzhen in 2010 which brought together more than 3,000 representatives from 92 countries.
  • Working with The Economist Intelligence Unit and the American Cancer Society, LIVESTRONG shed new light on cancer's global economic toll with two groundbreaking studies in 2009 and 2010.
  • LIVESTRONG helped organize the Global Task Force on Expanded Access to Cancer Care and Control in Developing Countries with representatives from the Harvard School of Public Health, Dana Farber Cancer Institute, Partners in Health and other leading cancer and public health organizations. The mandate of the Global Task Force is to design, implement and evaluate innovative strategies for expanding access to cancer prevention, detection and care. The Task Force is co-chaired by Her Royal Highness Princess Dina Mired of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, and Armstrong.

In 2011, the cancer community has opportunities to make significant progress to which Armstrong will lend his leadership:

  • The California Cancer Research Act has asked Armstrong to co-chair a ballot initiative campaign in the nation's largest state that will result in significant reductions in smoking and billions more in funding for cancer research. If passed by voters, the California Cancer Research Act will provide more than $500 million a year to find new ways to detect, treat, prevent and cure cancer and other tobacco-related illnesses. The coalition is led by the American Cancer Society, American Lung Association, American Heart Association, Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids and LIVESTRONG.
  • Smoke-Free Texas is a broad coalition of organizations who believe all Texas employees and customers have the right to breathe clean indoor air. LIVESTRONG and its coalition partners support a statewide smoke-free indoor workplace law to protect Texans from the dangers of secondhand smoke exposure in workplaces, including bars and restaurants. Armstrong has actively supported the legislation and will continue working for its passage throughout the 2011 legislative session.
  • The United Nations General Assembly Special Session on Non-Communicable Diseases this September, only the second high level meeting the UN has held on a global health issue, provides a significant opportunity to draw attention to the massive toll -- both in financial and human terms -- of cancer and other pervasive diseases like diabetes and heart disease. It has the potential to secure commitment from Heads of Government for a coordinated global response to non-communicable diseases, substantially increase financial resources and save millions from premature death and debilitating health complications. It also has the potential to lead to measurable targets and commitments from governments in both prevention and improving health systems that can be monitored and held accountable through regular reporting.
  • Grand opening of the LIVESTRONG Cancer Navigation Center in March 2011, one of fewer than five community-based navigation facilities in the United States. The LIVESTRONG Cancer Navigation Center, located in an underserved area of East Austin, provides a range of free services for anyone affected by cancer, in English and Spanish.

People interested in helping LIVESTRONG advance their global work can do so by taking the LIVESTRONG Survey. The anonymous survey is available online at http://www.LIVESTRONG.org/survey2010 and is open to anyone with a personal connection to cancer. The data collected will help LIVESTRONG address unmet needs of cancer survivors and their families and could provide the organization with information that will lead to the creation of new programs that will transform cancer care.

About LIVESTRONG
LIVESTRONG serves people affected by cancer and empowers them to take action against the world's leading cause of death. Created as the Lance Armstrong Foundation in 1997 by cancer survivor and champion cyclist Lance Armstrong, the organization is now known publicly by its powerful brand -- LIVESTRONG -- and is a leader in the unified global movement on behalf of 28 million people living with cancer today. Known for the iconic yellow wristband, LIVESTRONG has raised nearly $400 million for the fight against cancer. For more information visit LIVESTRONG.org.

Contact Information