This letter is to all who survived and did not cheat.
How you punched me in the gut. How you stole our dignity. I now envision your bracelets being recycled to help another cancer cause. Maybe from yellow to gray they might say, BrainStrong. Taken out of all the dresser drawers they are hidden in. Given a new life for the millions who supported you when, we needed you. Please, help me understand how a man can lie to so many? Bully so many. For victory.
How were you able to sleep all those years as you injected yourself with steroids? Did you ever weep thinking of the millions you lied to each day to win the yellow jerseys? When you visited the children in cancer clinics, bald from treatment, how could you look them in their eyes as their lives disappeared? Did you wear a disguise? Was it the cause that kept you going? Knowing that if you lied enough you could raise more money and maybe save someone? Did you ever think that your lies could kill? That they might make a person more ill. Realizing what you did to win, many might now give up. Not willing to lie, cheat and steal.
How many are able to raise the money you could that it takes to kill the disease, we share? When I read your books, I was going through treatment too. Like so many, they gave me hope and they renewed my faith in life. We are all so close to giving up but you rode on. No matter what the odds were stacked against you, you continued to train. Stories of you being totally drained from chemo but still biking. Riding through the storm as we all try to. You made it to the other side where the light shined. You were lucky enough to be able to share your story, as millions continue to pass. No more time in their hour glass.
When you were writing your chapters how could you leave out the private doctor who helped you beat the hundreds of doping tests? How could you leave out the how you led a team to cheat in order to beat the world’s best. How did you leave out all the hours planning how to beat the tests? How did you leave out how you felt when you looked in your wife’s eyes, as she realized you were not a natural man. Did the drugs drive you to divorce? Surely a chapter could be written about the course your life took once your loved ones found out that you were a cheat and a bully. How hard it must have been to love you fully.
I call to you to edit your books, now. Hollywood will soon have its take. They will compile the truth from your friends and mistakes, making another fantasy for us to forsake. For yourself and us all, take your timeline and tell the truth. Write it raw and share deeply, as you must have tried to the first round. Let us know when you decided to cheat? How you did it and on what race? What you thought when you looked in the mirror and saw your face? How did the drugs make you feel? When did you realize you could not be beat? When did it begin to take over you life? How you decided to not turn back? How you forced others to be silent, when you put up your hand and swore an oath. Did you ever think, millions of survivors might read your books now and decide to give up? To take their yellow bracelets off and throw them away.
Yellow Livestrong Bracelets floating deep. Bobbing up and down as we sleep, adding to our oceans and landfills. Twinkling like a fish lure into a belly. Into the stomach of a whale. Into the stomach of a yellowtail. There are 50 million of you. How will you impact our ocean’s blue? Will you find each other soon? Will you become the next Pacific garbage patch or help grow another landfill’s cocoon. Yellow dye intact, rubber floats, you will surely attract the sea life we need to live. Fish and birds will now use your cause as food and swallow your lies again. So many species will eat your cancer and die. Soon to be seen from space above. FLOAT STRONG. May your lives take on another in the deep. Recycling itself of our hero we once held so high. Cleansing itself of the lies molded into glory. Live strong to tell another story.