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Dave's Manifesto

Tuesday, December 13, 2005 9:20 PM CST

The Manifesto of the Lance Armstrong Foundation

We believe in life.
Your life.
We believe in living every minute of it with every ounce of your being.
And that you must not let cancer take control of it.
We believe in energy: channeled and fierce.
We believe in focus: getting smart and living strong.
Unity is strength. Knowledge is power. Attitude is everything.
This is the Lance Armstrong Foundation.

We kick in the moment you’re diagnosed.
We help you accept the tears. Acknowledge the rage.
We believe in your right to live without pain.
We believe in information. Not pity.
And in straight, open talk about cancer.
With husbands, wives and partners. With kids, friends and neighbors. And the people you live with, work with, cry and laugh with.
This is no time to pull punches.
You’re in the fight of your life.

We’re about the hard stuff.
Like finding the nerve to ask for a second opinion.
And a third, or a fourth, if that’s what it takes.
We’re about getting smart about clinical trials.
And if it comes to it, being in control of how your life ends.
It’s your life. You will have it your way.

We’re about the practical stuff.
Planning for surviving. Banking your sperm. Preserving your fertility. Organizing your finances. Dealing with hospitals, specialists, insurance companies and employers.
It’s knowing your rights.
It’s your life.
Take no prisoners.

We’re about the fight.
We’re your champion on Capitol Hill. Your advocate with the healthcare system. Your sponsor in the research labs.
And we know the fight never ends.
Cancer may leave your body, but it never leaves your life.
This is the Lance Armstrong Foundation.
Founded and inspired by one of the toughest cancer survivors on the planet.


That is the Lance Armstrong Foundation Manifesto. Powerful words. Powerful thoughts. Many of you know that Dave wore a yellow LIVEstrong bracelet for the last few years, always replacing it when it broke. He believed in what Lance Armstrong was doing for cancer research and admired Lance Armstrong for making his battle with cancer public and using that to inform people and make a difference.

Here's the thing you might not know. Dave read Lance Armstrong's book, It's Not About the Bike." He, well, how shall I put this? He didn't care for the book much. He was diametrically opposed to some of the things that were said. I'm not going to go into detail, I know that some were very inspired by the book, and that's great. Every cancer survivor, every family member, every health care worker that hears Lance's message and is moved to help in some small way or is empowered to keep fighting, every person Lance touches....they are like candles in the darkness, coming together to bring light into a very awful place. That is a good thing.

But let me offer to you,
Dave's Manifesto
Taken from:The Wild Man's Journey: Reflections on Male Spirituality by Richard Rohr & Joseph Martos
1. Life is hard.
Know this ahead of time and do not waste your life trying to make it easy for yourself, as all uninitiated men will try to do. We must be signed with "the cross" ahead of time, or we will spend all our lives avoiding it. "The stone that the builders rejected...has become the cornerstone." Matthew 21:42

2. You are going to die.
Mortality must be made real to the boy by trials, hazing, scarring, facing death and the fear of death. Without a truthful cosmology, we are trapped in our own pathology, and who is to blame for it? All woundings must become "sacred wounds" to prepare us for the final letting go.

3. You are not that important.
The initiate must be rightly situated in the world that demands respect from him, or he will have a false sense of himself that will need constant reassurance (the modern self-esteem movement). Humility is of central importance for human truth and happiness.

4. You are not in control.
The initiate must be led to the limits of his own resources and ability to control outcomes, so he will learn to rely on the Other. It is not a world of unlimited progress, but in fact a limited world. God is in control. We must admit that powerlessness.

5. Your life is not about you.
You are a fragment of something and Somebody much bigger than yourself. Your job is to listen, obey and adore, not calculate. You are a part of a great and holy mystery. Otherwise you will assume that you create all the patterns, and it is your job to figure them out by yourself.

I can't tell you how many times I heard Dave quote these ideas to me. He often said, "Shell, it's not about me." The "life is hard" and "you are not in control" became like private jokes, a shorthand between us.

I'm not as mature as Dave. I would rail on about the unfairness, about the wrongness, about the "why?" of it all. Dave always said, "Shell, it's bigger than that." And "all I can do is walk the path before me the best I can."

Not a serene acceptance of death.
Not a surrender to cancer.
He fought like crazy.
But he trusted the Other completely.
Trusted in the promises.
Trusted in the outcome.

This is what Robin was talking about when he said that Dave would be the first to tell you, he was an ordinary man. This Wild Man book talks about how in youth, we will strive to ascend, to achieve, to rise up. In maturity, we are content to be the patient receiver of the gift, realizing our place in the scheme of all creation. Ironically, it was this sense of humility, this understanding of himself as just a person, that allowed Dave to touch and reach so many. He was not only the receiver of the gift, he was the conduit...passing it on to those around him.

His vision was bigger than mine. Still is.

Love, Shell


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