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Lance Armstrong
By Podofdonny
Date: 11/13/2002
Lance Armstrong

European Cycling fans have been engaged in their traditional winter activities of rumour, discussion and transfer news regarding the peloton. One of the big topics has been the US Postal 2003 line up and whether Tom Boonen will be included in the team when the team is announced tomorrow. One rider who will definitely be in the team is, of course, UCI ranked Number 2 Lance Armstrong. However, what has the Four times Tour winner been up to over the off season period?

The Daily North Western produced this interesting article on Armstrong and his wife Kirstin's participation in a "Families After Cancer" evening held at the Welsh Ryan Arena. To see the original article click here.

Cyclist Armstrong, panel discuss life, family after cancer treatment

Speaker tells 750 of struggle to overcome disease at 25; others share similar stories

By Michelle Gabriel

November 12, 2002

Lance Armstrong has survived the most grueling bike race in the world and emerged victorious four years in a row. But when he mentioned his victory over testicular cancer Monday night at Welsh-Ryan Arena, it was his strength of spirit -- not his reign as Tour de France champion -- which captivated his audience.

The panel discussion, "Families After Cancer," featured Armstrong, his wife and others who have devoted their time to informing the public about options for cancer survivors who want to start families.

About 750 audience members gathered to hear Armstrong speak about his struggle to start a family after enduring treatment for testicular cancer, which rendered him unable to have children. But Armstrong said the initial shock of getting cancer as a healthy 25-year-old temporarily drove thoughts of starting a family out of his mind.

"I thought, 'Oh, my God, I'm going to die,'" he said. "I didn't think about the family of 10 I was planning."

But when Armstrong learned that 90 to 95 percent of men diagnosed with testicular cancer survive, he shifted his focus to beating the disease and ensuring he would be able to have a family.

A few months before recovering from cancer, Armstrong met his future wife. The Armstrongs did not worry over any challenges with having children when they first decided to get married. "As anyone who has ever fallen madly, blissfully in love, I wasn't worried about the details," said Kristin Armstrong, Lance's wife.

But the couple had fewer worries than most couples who try to conceive using in vitro fertilization. Their first attempt to conceive was successful, and today they have three children.

The Armstrongs have devoted much of their lives to informing the public about starting families after cancer and improving the lives of people who have been affected by the disease.

"I am happy to make a taboo subject approachable," Kristin Armstrong said. "I'm happy when people come up to me in the grocery store and talk about their ovaries." Also at the panel discussion was Lindsay Nohr, who was diagnosed with cancer at age 22 and again at age 24.

She reminded audience members -- many of whom also had been affected by cancer -- to ask doctors questions about how treatments such as chemotherapy will affect their ability to start families. Dr. Zev Rosenwaks, director of The Center for Reproductive Medicine and Infertility at New York Weill Cornell, discussed breakthroughs in reproductive options for cancer survivors.

He told audience members of a woman whose ovaries had been harvested and placed inside her arm, where they produced eggs for 25 months. Although this method has yet to produce a pregnancy, Rosenwaks said it represents the great technological advances being made in reproductive research.

Communication junior Danielle Uhlarik said she was impressed with how well the Armstrongs have handled their situation and that the discussion introduced her to new challenges people face while battling cancer.

"They put a different perspective (on cancer)," Uhlarik said. "Not just on surviving, but living."

Photos by Scott Schaffrick, all rights reserved.

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