Armstrong fundraisers pledge to continue after sanctions




Posted on August 24, 2012 at 6:26 PM

The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency stripped Lance Armstrong Friday of his seven Tour de France titles and banned him from cycling for life.

That unprecedented action erases one of the most incredible achievements in sports after deciding that Armstrong used performance-enhancing drugs to do it.

Armstrong's victories made him one of the biggest stars in the world and a hero to thousands for overcoming cancer. Now there are questions about the Lance Armstrong Foundation's fight against the disease.

In the view of the USADA, the official enforcer for Olympic sports in the United States on performance-enhancing drugs, Armstrong is an athlete who cheated.

But to his foundation sponsors and those who raise and donate money to his foundation in North Texas, they are still with Armstrong.

Disgraced as an athlete, Armstrong and his foundation that has raised nearly $500 million will still glide into the future with big corporate sponsors — Nike among them — announcing they're still along for the ride.

So is a big North Texas contributor, 4 Yellow Foundation, founded by Steve Nagel and his wife, Lee, a seven-year cancer survivor.

"It's almost refreshing," Steve Nagel said. "It kind of feels like a load's been lifted... that, OK, that's out there now, let's continue to focus on the mission."

The mission for the Nagels is continuing the work of their foundation, one of the leading national fundraisers and contributors to Armstrong's organization.

Their Swing Fore Yellow golf tournament raised $775,000 the past three years and is scheduled this year for Septmber 24 at Gleneagles Country Club in Plano. They also added a fashion show, mountain bike, and ski fundraisers.

Lee Nagel said she doesn't worry the sanctions against Armstrong will taint their fundraising efforts. "I think the focus of the foundation has never been about what Lance does on the bike; it's about what Lance does for the 28 million people living with cancer worldwide," she said.

The Nagels say two of their corporate sponsors Friday actually increased donations.

As they proudly wear their Livestrong yellow wrist bands, they hope other donors will, too, recognizing the need families have beyond medical treatment.

"But for us, it's to help continue to fight cancer and help those families that are battling through when they find out those dreadful words, 'You have cancer,'" Steve Nagel said.