It's Not About the Bike is about a lot of things, including "the bike." It's about who Lance Armstrong is, and his emotional scars. It's about how he beat cancer because of his good physical condition, high tolerance for pain, and experience with endurance. It's about his friends and those who reached out to him and made his successes possible. It's about his wife who supports him to the point of self-deprecation. But all of these things don't make me care about him. His story, although engagingly told in simple everyday language that was clearly his, did not make me care about him.
It did, however, make me think about the work he does for cancer research and treatment. A friend's parent recently died while undergoing chemotherapy and other treatments for breast cancer. My friends began to wear the "Livestrong" bracelet after she was diagnosed and still wear it daily.
The fact that someone survived cancer and went on to do great things athletically is great. The fact that they began devoting energy and time to raising funds and awareness for cancer research is fantastic. The fact that the person who did these things was Lance Armstrong is inconsequential.
The people who fight for awareness about and funding for diseases are those who have had their lives traumatized by that disease. If you happen to be famous, you are usually more effective. By enduring their trials, people become humbled and understanding of other peoples' pain. They understand the pain so well that they refuse to stand idly by and not help. This is why most charities are started.
I think that it's a great thing to give back. I think that Lance Armstrong telling his story of survival is good because it helps others understand the emotional and physical processes of cancer diagnosis and treatment.
But Lance Armstrong didn't do it by himself, and he never claims otherwise. Every step of the way there was someone helping him. When he was going through cancer treatment people were constantly with him and assisting him. When his wife was going through the painful process of in-vitro fertilization, she bore the brunt of the pain. When he raced, he was able to win because of the team he worked with.
I think that his honesty about how he didn't do anything alone was good, but I wished he had. It would have made the story more compelling.
However, in real life, although individuals get the credit for making a difference, no person can to something truly great without some help from others. I think that's why he decided to help others in his own way and support cancer research. Understanding that you didn't do it by yourself makes you want to help others in return.