One Band Changed the Fight for Cancer Forever

In 2004, Nike gave the Livestrong Foundation a fundraising tool: yellow silicone wristbands stamped Livestrong that the nonprofit could sell for $1 each. Foundation leaders were grateful but slightly puzzled – wristbands, ubiquitous today, weren’t a ‘thing’ yet. 
That summer in Athens, Greece, Olympic athletes could be seen proudly wearing the band that stood for something beautiful: unity is strength, knowledge is power, and attitude is everything. 
Celebrities began wearing them on the red carpet. On the national political scene that year, candidates sported the band on the campaign trail. 
And the little nonprofit in Austin, Texas, organized to serve people affected by cancer, exploded. Wristbands had arrived and theirs was the only one around. 

The Foundation flourished. It raised hundreds of millions of dollars with the Livestrong band and the proceeds were devoted to amazing programs that made a huge impact for patients: fertility preservation, transportation services to and from treatments, mental health support, patient navigation – all funded a dollar at a time by that little yellow band. 
I joined the Foundation in 2007, happy to be back in Austin after years in California and Washington, DC. It was thrilling – we had a founder who was smart, well-versed and willing to go anywhere and meet with anyone to advocate for more funding for research and programs that support people fighting cancer. We had an outstanding Board of Directors and an amazing team. We achieved a lot together.
In Texas, we passed a Constitutional Amendment, creating an enormous fund for cancer research and prevention second only to the federal government’s. Texas lawmakers joined and led the effort – then-Senator Jane Nelson, Representatives Jim Keffer, Myra Crownover and Jeannie Morrison and many others joined forces with the Foundation on a statewide campaign and the measure passed with overwhelming support.
When I started Mach 1 in 2013, Livestrong was my first client and I’m proud and grateful to say we still serve them today. And to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Livestrong wristband, our team has been working hard to publicize this milestone. 
Texas Monthly’s Senior Editor Emily McCullar created a one-of-a-kind cover story titled “Making the Band: An Oral History of the Livestrong Bracelet.” This remembrance was touching, illuminating and thrilling to read. We thank Texas Monthly for devoting their time and attention to a cause that has saved countless lives, given hope, raised millions and created solidarity for people affected by cancer.
We also brought together Texas Monthly’s Emily McCullar and Livestrong CEO Suzanne Stone for a sit down with Fox 7 Austin for a great conversation about then and now.  We appreciate their time and attention to this monumental cause.
Cheers to Livestrong, its outstanding team of knowledgeable and devoted professionals, and to all of the people it brings together to kick cancer’s ass. Here’s to another 20 years!


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