Tuesday, May 22, 2018
News Roundup

John Romano: Lance Armstrong's reputation is ruined, but his impact is very real for some

The apology, if it comes, may well be self-serving.

Heaven knows, when it comes to the question of drug tests and cheating, most of Lance Armstrong's previous explanations, threats and lawsuits have all been designed to protect a carefully constructed and, as it turns out, fabricated image.

He has destroyed the careers and credibility of too many others in a selfish attempt to perpetuate a decade's worth of heartfelt and utterly convincing lies.

So, no, I don't have a ton of interest in hearing what the disgraced cycling champion has to say on this topic in a much-anticipated interview with Oprah Winfrey tonight.

His integrity already in doubt, his sincerity will forever be open to debate.

But what of his impact?

Far beyond the Tour de France titles and Olympic appearances is the legacy of Armstrong's foundation. His fundraising. His Livestrong bracelets and brand. His harrowing tale of survival that inspired cancer patients throughout the world.

Go back 10 years or so to an oncologist's office in North Pinellas. To a room where cancer patients gathered to have toxic meds pumped into weakened bodies.

Kit Meador was a nurse searching for ways to provide hope to the hopeless. Her interest in triathlons led her to Armstrong's website, and that is where she discovered the phenomenon of plastic, yellow Livestrong bracelets for cancer awareness.

Meador spent $100 to buy her first batch of bracelets and began handing them out to patients. Soon she had a vintage Lance Cookies jar in the office to raise money to buy more bracelets and spread the message of facing cancer by living strong.

"I see some of those patients today, years later, and they're still wearing their Livestrong bracelets," said Meador. "That's how much it has meant to them.

"What those bracelets represented is still very relevant to them. It's an indication of how they lived through some of the worst days of their lives, and how they want to continue living today."

The patients in those rooms may have only shared an enemy and a hero, but that was more than enough. Armstrong's name was as familiar as their disease. His books and story, too. It wasn't the mountainous route on the Tour de France that was important, but the journey Armstrong took to get there after a battle with testicular cancer.

At a time in their lives when there was little cause to be optimistic or thankful, it was Armstrong who provided a reason to believe.

"I understand how people feel about him today, but I see him through a different perspective," said Renee, a cancer survivor who asked that her last name not be used for fear her medical history might have repercussions in her new job. "His book helped me through some of those times. It helped me feel like I wasn't alone.

"I wear my bracelet every day. I don't take it off for any reason. It's more of a message than a reminder. It tells people you can beat this if you are willing to live strong."

If you watch Armstrong on TV this evening, you may find yourself wondering if it was all worth it. If the deceptions that made him rich and famous were worth the subsequent fall from grace.

To a certain group of people, it's not even a question.

"However many people he lied to," said Meador, "he helped far more."

Comments
Sheriff: Weeki Wachee High student posted fake school shooting threat

Sheriff: Weeki Wachee High student posted fake school shooting threat

WEEKI WACHEE — A 16-year-old was arrested Tuesday on allegations that she created a fake social media post threatening to shoot students at Weeki Wachee High School, according to the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office.Deputies said the 16-year-old told...
Updated: 8 minutes ago
Driver gets 28 years in prison for fleeing fatal Howard Frankland crash

Driver gets 28 years in prison for fleeing fatal Howard Frankland crash

TAMPA — After Allison Huffman slammed her car into a tow truck driver who had stopped to help a pair of stranded motorists on the Howard Frankland Bridge, she drove to a hotel and got out to look at the damage.She saw shattered glass, a bare tire rim...
Updated: 25 minutes ago
Police: St. Pete man who pried a safe out of the wall in custody

Police: St. Pete man who pried a safe out of the wall in custody

ST. PETERSBURG — It took more than an hour for a 25-year-old man to break into a restaurant, pry a safe out of the wall, drag it through the back and then wrestle it into his car, according to police.That was last week. Michael Murphy was arrested Tu...
Updated: 1 hour ago
FSU starter Josh Ball faces Title IX suspension over dating violence accusation

FSU starter Josh Ball faces Title IX suspension over dating violence accusation

Florida State starting offensive tackle Josh Ball faces a university suspension after a Title IX investigation found him responsible for dating violence.The suspension came to light in a Facebook post Monday afternoon by Sandra Sellers, an FSU studen...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Here’s why there are so many coyotes and why they are spreading so fast

Here’s why there are so many coyotes and why they are spreading so fast

For eons, coyotes roamed what is now the western United States, with its wide-open plains. Then came European settlers, who cut down forests for farms and ranches in a steady east-west march. Along the way, they killed large predators such as pumas a...
Updated: 1 hour ago
HBO: Ex-Buc Scot Brantley battling Alzheimer’s, claim denied by NFL

HBO: Ex-Buc Scot Brantley battling Alzheimer’s, claim denied by NFL

Former Gators and Bucs linebacker Scot Brantley, also once a popular sports radio host in Tampa, is battling Alzheimer's Disease and has been rejected from the NFL's concussion settlement, according to tonight's episode of HBO's "Real Sports with Bry...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Lightning-Capitals: Tampa Bay’s Game 7 Mr. Essential

Lightning-Capitals: Tampa Bay’s Game 7 Mr. Essential

TAMPA — He's the Lightning's best player. He's its most important player.Well, other than goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy. That's a given. Every team relies most heavily on its goalie.But if the Lightning is going win a nerve-racking, heart-stopping,...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Search underway for North Carolina man missing from Tampa-based Carnival Paradise

Search underway for North Carolina man missing from Tampa-based Carnival Paradise

The U.S. Coast Guard was searching Tuesday for a 50-year-old North Carolina man who reportedly fell off a Tampa-based cruise ship.The Coast Guard Key West received a call from the cruise ship Carnival Paradise about 10 a.m. saying the man, Brian Lamo...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Lightning-Capitals: Tampa Bay’s Game 7 to-do list

Lightning-Capitals: Tampa Bay’s Game 7 to-do list

TAMPA — By now there are no more secretes. After six games over 11 days, the Lightning know all the Capitals' habits , and the Caps know all the Lightning's.To Lightning coach Jon Cooper the outcome of tonight's Game 7 of the Eastern Conference...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Academy at the Lakes wins first state softball title

Academy at the Lakes wins first state softball title

VERO BEACH —Academy at the Lakes waited two weeks to play in the Class 2A state softball tournament in hopes of winning what has been an elusive title.The Wildcats completed the first task Monday, cruising to a mercy-rule win over Fort Pierce John Ca...
Updated: 2 hours ago