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Bracelets more than fashion statement


Photo
MATT ROBLES/Arizona Daily Wildcat
Krystle Forrest, a physiology sophomore, displays her Lance Armstrong cancer research bracelet yesterday afternoon. Forrest is one of many students who show their support by sporting the yellow bracelet.
By Nathan Tafoya
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Friday, September 17, 2004
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Sporting Lance Armstrong's yellow wristband is becoming quite the trend these days, but some UA students realize that the wristband is more than a fashion statement.

The rubber wristbands, in the color of Armstrong's jersey during the Tour de France, are being sold for $1 at various stores and online. All proceeds benefit the Lance Armstrong Foundation to support cancer research.

Engraved with the words "Live Strong," the wristbands have made public appearances on numerous actors and other athletes at the 2004 Olympic Games.

Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry has been seen wearing one, and his running mate, vice presidential candidate John Edwards, was wearing one, Monday at a rally at Tucson Convention Center. A White House spokesman said President Bush also has one.

With a yellow band tightly strapped around his wrists, undeclared freshman Dillon Hansen said every member of his family has one of the wristbands.

"I had testicular cancer, the same as Lance Armstrong," he explained.

Hansen said he became a fan and looked up to the cyclist after finding out about the disease.

"It was something to motivate me," Hansen said. "It was a pretty hard time."

Photo
SAUL LOEB/Arizona Daily Wildcat
Democratic vice presidential candidate John Edwards was wearing a Lance Armstrong yellow wristband during his visit to Tucson Monday. President Bush also wears the bracelet.

Gabby Wolff, a molecular and cellular biology senior, has only been wearing her wristband for a few days. She heard about "Live Strong" from Web sites dedicated to it, such as laf.org and wearyellow.com.

Wolff is also a pre-medical student volunteer at the Arizona Cancer Center.

"The fact that it's rubber, it's just easy to wear," Wolff said. "It doesn't get wet, so I never take it off."

Although Wolff planned on wearing the wristband until it was "destroyed," she may be taking it off sooner than she originally anticipated.

"I'm going to get another one because the adult size is too big for girls," she said, lifting her arm to show the slack in the wristband. "It's falling off."

Wolff said men would probably like the adult size wristband and that women will probably want the youth size.

When someone as popular as Armstrong promotes an object as philanthropic as a wristband for cancer research, there is the possibility of exploitation at a financial or fashion level.

Wolff said she grew angry when she found out about attempts by some people to sell the bands at inflated prices on eBay, saying it defeated the purpose entirely because the sellers would only pocket the money.

Some people like the sleek and simple design of the "Live Strong" band and may buy it just for looks. Others, like Jack Londeree, sophomore majoring in Spanish, initially bought it because he knew the wristband is tied to Armstrong, and he is a fan of the cyclist.

Electrical engineering junior Josh Gates has a number of reasons for wearing the wristband, beside the fact that he thinks Armstrong is "the man."

Gates said he started watching the Tour de France three or four years ago when Armstrong returned to his sport as a cancer survivor. Gates' dad rides in the Tour de Tucson, and his grandmother passed away from cancer.

"You can tell it caught on," Gates said. "The more people see them, the more people are like, 'Where can I get them?' And it's for a good cause, so why not?"



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