Now that Lance Armstrong has stepped down from the board of the Livestrong Foundation, the charity he founded after his cancer diagnosis, his public disgrace seems complete. The once-lionized cycling star, stripped of his Tour de France titles due to overwhelming evidence that he engaged in doping, is now a symbol of moral failure and diminished hope.
But that doesn’t mean supporters of the Livestrong Foundation need to stop wearing the yellow rubber bracelets that once referenced Armstrong’s racing colors. Whatever sins Armstrong committed in the world of racing, they don’t erase the good work that the foundation has done in fighting cancer — or the role those faddish bracelets have played in fostering a sense of community.
If Armstrong has done anything right, it has been his decision, however reluctant, to sever his ties with Livestrong, in order to shield the charity from his public image. Supporters of cancer research have plenty of choices, and some might still decide to abandon Livestrong for other organizations. But 80 million Livestrong bracelets have already been sold, and the people who bought them can still wear them with pride: Above all, they represent a generous spirit and the best of intentions.