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In their own words: 'I own three Livestrong shirts and I will wear them tomorrow with pride.'

WHAT LIVESTRONG MEANS TO YOU NOW — Three people touched by cancer share their thoughts on the Livestrong bracelet.
by Jenni Carlson Published: January 20, 2013

Matt Allen

The father of two is battling brain cancer, a fight he waged while continuing to coach his daughter as a volunteer assistant with the Bishop McGuinness High School softball team. His story was chronicled in The Oklahoman in Sept. 2011.

“I wore my yellow bracelet because, to me, it was fighting back against cancer.

“Armstrong is a cancer survivor who played to win. That is my goal. I treat this as a competition, and I am playing to win. To me, the yellow bracelet was a way to remember that I am playing to win and that I was not the first one to play to win.

“Do I look at them differently? No. I look at Lance Armstrong's victories in the Tour differently, but his victory over cancer is undeniable.

“Today, I own three Livestrong shirts and I will wear them tomorrow with pride. To me, they are not about the cheating while racing but rather the belief that the fight against cancer is hard and difficult, but it is a fight that can be won.

“I really like the idea of the bracelets (that have been made with Allen's name on them), but I believe they can mean something different to everyone. I have had people tell me that every time they see their blue “Smile: It MATTers” bracelet, they think of me. I have always tried to stay positive through this adventure and I am fighting hard to win. My hope is my blue bracelets inspire others to stay positive and play to win.

“I have Stage 4 terminal brain cancer. I am playing to win. I will play hard and have fun.”

Kelly Allen

Her husband, Matt, who was a volunteer assistant softball coach at McGuinness, is battling brain cancer.

“When Matt was first diagnosed, we received a book from the Livestrong Foundation about how to organize information from doctors and deal with cancer in our lives. I think it was important for us, and especially for Matt as an athlete, to be able to look at someone like Lance and think that he had beaten cancer — so could we.

“It makes me a little sad now to think about Matt after his second brain surgery — the steroids to keep his brain swelling under control keeping him up at odd hours — riding his stationary bike in front of the TV watching the Tour de France in the wee hours of the morning. Lance wasn't in that one, but his inspiration was still there.

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by Jenni Carlson
Jenni Carlson, a sports columnist at The Oklahoman since 1999, came by her love of sports honestly. She grew up in a sports-loving family in Kansas. Her dad coached baseball and did color commentary on the radio for the high school football...
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