When the founder of your charitable organization, whose name recognition drove massive revenue for you, becomes caught in scandal, how do you keep the focus on the good work you’re doing? The Lance Armstrong Foundation had to figure this out when the cyclist and cancer survivor who was its founder and namesake was revealed in 2012 to have been doping extensively. His Tour de France and other victories invalidated, he departed the foundation under a cloud. Nike, which created the iconic yellow LIVESTRONG bracelets that were seen everywhere in the early 2000s, chose not to renew its partnership.
But meanwhile, the organization has been continuing to provide support to over 120,000 people with cancer. It helps them navigate through the healthcare system, then rebuild their lives as survivors. So after Armstrong left, they rebranded to the LIVESTRONG Foundation, and kept doing the work they were doing.
LIVESTRONG.COM and MYPLATE
Since then, LIVESTRONG’s reach has expanded. In addition to the work with cancer survivors, LIVESTRONG licensed its brand to the site Livestrong.com, a resource in preventative medicine with information about diet, exercise and healthy living. Gradually in the past few years, Livestrong.com has become one of the most key resources on the Internet for simple and clear articles about staying healthy. It has now introduced a calorie tracking app called MyPlate, which positions it in direct competition with the longtime juggernaut of health apps: MyFitnessPal. Like MyFitnessPal, MyPlate includes calorie trackers and a supportive community. It also offers meal plans, nutritional analysis and workouts.
Meanwhile, Livestrong.com continues to share fitness information that is topical and user-friendly, even playful or chatty. Recently, when the new Star Wars movie came out, Livestrong.com shared a “Star Wars” partner workout video from PopSugar. It came complete with plastic light sabers and Rey’s trademark hairdo. Through this licensing agreement Livestrong.com has generated $3 million to support Livestrong.org and the cancer programs they provide.
LIVESTRONG AT THE YMCA
And back at Livestrong.org, the emphasis on fitness extends to a program called LIVESTRONG at the YMCA. This program allows people who have completed their cancer treatment to pursue a guided 12-week program to help them regain mobility and strength lost during the treatment process. LIVESTRONG at the YMCA is available in over 600 communities across the United States. LIVESTRONG notes, “Survivors participate in free or low cost customized exercise regimens catered to their individual needs from certified fitness instructors. The instructors are trained in cancer survivorship, post-rehabilitation exercise and supportive cancer care. Survivors and often their families receive a membership at the YMCA for the duration of the program.”
LIVESTRONG’s origins were rooted in good intentions – to help people survive and thrive after a cancer diagnosis. By staying true to them, it has grown into a force for good.
Pranada McBurnie is a communications professional living in Toronto, Canada. She is the Managing Editor of Parvati Magazine, and the Communications Manager for Parvati.org. In addition, she is the editor for Parvati’s forthcoming books Confessions from Your Awakened Self, YEM: Yoga as Energy Medicine and Aonani and the Emissary of the Blue Star.