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Conquer Cancer Health News
The 25 Most Intriguing People Of '99: Lance Armstrong First he beat cancer, then his Tour de France tour de force made him a national hero
( People )

On July 25, when cyclist Lance Armstrong zoomed across thefinish line of the 21-day, 2,289-mile Tour de France, it was onebig win for man, one giant victory for humanity. Armstrong, 28,had not only beaten 6-to-1 odds to place first in the gruelingrace; he had triumphed over testicular cancer, having been givenjust a 40 percent chance of survival three years earlier. Thoughthe disease had spread to his brain, lungs and abdomen, "I wasthankful that my odds weren't 5 or 10 percent!" says Armstrong,who confronted his illness with the same determination that hadalready made him the top cyclist in the U.S. "What he held on towas this core belief that he was simply going to beat it, towin, to succeed," says wife Kristin, 28. "When he's in thatmind-set, he just can't be stopped." Armstrong underwent surgeryto remove the cancerous testicle and brain lesions, then enduredfour rounds of chemotherapy. In October 1997 his doctorspronounced him cancer-free. It was his next victory that broughthome to the world at large what can be achieved through courageand perseverance. "He not only came back competitive, but evenstronger than before," says figure-skating champ Scott Hamilton,41, who also overcame testicular cancer. Now Armstrong has a$400,000 book advance and endorsement deals worth some $7million, and a made-for-TV movie is in the works. But morecompelling to him is fatherhood: On Oct. 12, Kristin gave birthto their son Luke, conceived with sperm that Armstrong bankedbefore starting treatment. The cyclist is also committed to theLance Armstrong Foundation, which he founded in 1997 to raiseresearch funds and increase cancer awareness. "We're trying todevelop programs for survivors as well as patients," he says."People need guidance on how to pick up their lives." Forinspiration, they can look to Lance Armstrong.

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