Oakes Plimpton / Arlington
I write in response to Dr. Lawrence N. Shulman’s article supporting Lance Armstrong (Perspective, November 4). As an NGO leader myself, I am fully versed in the most arduous efforts behind fund-raising and mobilizing volunteers to support any cause. And as a cancer survivor, and with a mother who has leukemia, I am emotionally connected. But Shulman’s article saddened me in many ways. Armstrong — the very man many still idolize, despite the avalanche of evidence which has been ratified by all of the sport’s leading governance associations and federations — has created the Lance Armstrong Foundation on the back of leading, collaborating, and executing one of the world’s most sophisticated doping programs. Countless people have been conned into donating time, money, love, and skills based on a charade. There is no dispute that the Lance Armstrong Foundation employees are a committed, loyal, hard-working group who are sincere in their goals, something I believe their former chairman and current board member has never been. It is way past the time that the do-gooders started to realize that the very man they continue to support has single-handedly destroyed many lives of honest hard-working cyclists all over the world. My wish in the end is that young cyclists can once again dream of being the best in the world without having to make life-threatening decisions about their health.
Mark Philpott / Singapore
After reading Shulman’s article, I felt compelled to comment. A little over two years ago, my 14-year-old son, Brendan, was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma. A dear family friend who had battled testicular cancer gave Brendan his Livestrong bracelet that he wore through all his treatments. On Brendan’s first day of chemo, Dana-Farber gave him a care package with a Livestrong bracelet. Brendan said I could have it. I put it on and haven’t taken it off since. Lately I have been getting a lot of comments from strangers, asking how I can still wear it after all the negative publicity. Like Shulman said, there is so much more to Lance and the Livestrong foundation than his bicycling career. I wear that bracelet every day to remind me of how strong my son is. I am thankful for all the support we have received.
J.J. Lynch / Marlborough
Before judging, one needs to look at both the good and bad. Often the good far outweighs the bad. This is the case for Armstrong. Eighteen months ago, I was treated at MGH and became a cancer survivor. The care and knowledge I received was terrific. It helped reduce my fears so I could really examine the whole process. Armstrong and his foundation helped me through this time. Lessons have been learned from this terrible situation, but now it’s time to forgive and look at all the positives Armstrong has provided. And I’ve been to the Tour de France. Drugs or no drugs, the spectacle was quite a feat.
Betsy Kross / Manchester-by-the-Sea
ADVISING THE ADVISER
I read Miss Conduct’s response to R.R. in Cambridge (November 4) and have another response that she could have given the woman who complained about her daughter’s male soccer coach: “He is probably the father of one of the girls who is volunteering his time. If you don’t like it, then lace up your sneakers and volunteer your time rather than deprive your child of a great sport.’’ Finding parents who are willing to give their time to coach is difficult. Most of the coaches out there are trying to do their best to give your children a positive experience.
Michael Borek / Scituate
Surely anyone attempting to teach others politeness should practice it herself. That is why I often find Miss Conduct’s column bewildering, particularly her venomous response to the overextended great-aunt (November 4). The writer was clearly a well-intentioned older woman who was financially burdened by her familial obligations. She needed reassurance and, perhaps, suggestions of more affordable ways to acknowledge the children’s birthdays. Certainly, she did not deserve a vicious response. People who approach us for help deserve our kindness and respect. If we believe their actions or attitudes merit a reproof, we must deliver it gently. Those who attack the most vulnerable among us are called bullies. Bullying often indicates a deep-seated insecurity. As a PhD in psychology, Miss Conduct ought to know that.
Dorothy A. Dahm / Hubbardton, Vermont
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