Archive for the ‘Charities’ Category

Lance, Flawed hero and the Power of “Sorry”

January 20, 2013

Lance ArmstrongI’m sorry for what I have done” said Lance as he glanced across at Oprah with those steely eyes.

It was the most fascinating interview and you may not have have liked what was he was saying but he did come across as being honest..even to the point of admitting that he was and probably still is a “jerk“.

It’s hard to know how to feel about the whole episode – I had a big discussion with my son Brendan, about the whole thing.

He totally disagrees with me!

I’ve got a simple view of Lance Armstrong ..

The Sportsman

I reckon anyone who is at the very top of their game must be extremely driven and obsessive about what they do ..it could be soccer (Roy Keane, a typical example), ballet, politics, writing, anything. If you are not obsessive you just won’t be at the very top.

Lance Armstrong who admitted he operated a  “Win at all Costs” mentality rose to the pinnacle of a sport that has been riddled with drugs and illegal practices for as long as I can remember.

Did the authorities that run professional cycling allow an environment and culture that made these illegal practices possible?

My simple question here is – did Lance practice harder and do drugs better and more effectively than all of the other cyclists? 

The Cancer Survivor

Lance Armstrong - Cancer SurvivorHe beat the odds against cancer and once again he became a winner.

He even managed to commercialise his story and the cancer journey by capturing it in books that inspired people all over the world with his “don’t give up, win” mentality.

More than once I have heard people quote his book as helping them through tough and very dark times (just last week, Chris Donoghue, Newstalk presenter)

The Charity

Livestrong FoundationUsing the power of his iconic status he formed the Livestrong Foundation charity raising money for cancer research and once again inspiring sick people the world over with his drive and inspiration.

The Cheat, the Liar and the Betrayal

We all know at this stage how much he cheated (it’s not right, but were they all at it?) and we know what a great and convincing liar (over and over he did this) he is.

The very worst of all was how he betrayed close friends, colleagues and team mates and in many cases tried to destroy them professionally and personally to protect the huge Lance Armstrong brand that he had built. He even went as far as suing people who were telling the truth just to protect himself.

This part is truly unforgivable and despicable – I really don’t know how anyone could do this.

Maybe the brand was so big and invincible that no one could handle it? Could he handle it?

Lance Armstrong is an incredibly driven individual who scaled huge heights, achieved incredible feats and managed to do a lot of good but he is incredibly flawed and is guilty of doing some terrible things.

The Power of Sorry

Lance Armstrong & Oprah

I’m Sorry …

The great thing about having a public profile (the Sean Quinn interview with Vincent Browne comes to mind) is that you will always have an audience for “sorry” – in Lance’s case he was able to have the largest possible audience with Oprah.

He said “sorry” and it gave him an opportunity to connect with a huge audience. I watched it and I did empathise with him.

Not everyone will forgive him but many will …some other viewers might just soften their attitude towards him a little.

There is huge power in the word “sorry” – always use it..

Lance Armstrong, the flawed hero – have we seen the last of him? I doubt it!

Sorry!

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion

Fuzion with offer Crisis PR services for clients from our offices in Dublin and Cork.

Patrick’s Hill, Heroes and Villains

August 17, 2011
Tour de Munster - Down Syndrome Ireland

The anticipation !

We anxiously waited on Patrick’s Hill in Cork alongside partners, children, other family members, people from the charity, collectors, sponsors, spectators, cycle fans and curious onlookers.

This was the finale of the Tour de Munster, one last leg of the gruelling 600km cycle around Munster in just four days. The 150 cyclists were delayed as there was a nasty tumble earlier in the day when one of the guys had a bad fall and suffered concussion – this left the schedule about an hour behind.

Every year Paul Sheridan and his team of cycling and fundraising enthusiasts endure this four days of madness for a different charity. For the second year in succession Down Syndrome Ireland are the chosen recipients for all the fundraising efforts, which already look like they are going to break all previous records.

Months of organisation, training, discipline and endurance have gone into this and every other Tour de Munster, which is now in its 11th year. Paul Sheridan is a tough task master and every year for months in advance he drives this team of cyclists hard, preparing them for these gruelling four days.

Tour de Munster

Who said this was tough?

There are some seasoned cyclists in the troop but the 150 is also made up of a random mix of all sorts who have committed themselves to this crazy challenge. This includes parents of kids with Down Syndrome who are literally cycling for better facilities for their children – these aren’t superb athletes, just ordinary folks with ordinary lives doing extraordinary things.

The excitement is building on Patrick’s Hill and then we have the most awful incident – Ger McCarthy the professional press photographer while preparing to capture images for the newspapers the next morning turns his back for two seconds and discovers that both his expensive Nikon cameras have been stolen (Nikon D3 & D3s).

Did anyone spot anything? – this was done so swiftly and so professionally no one really realised the seriousness of what was happening around them. Basically a car (reddish/maroon old model Toyota) with a few opportunistic men (I don’t want to be racist but these guys have been described as Hispanic looking) drove up Patrick’s Hill, spotted the cameras on the ground behind Ger, did a quick u-turn, pulled in just him and quickly snatched the cameras and sped off… well done boys, aren’t you just fabulous!

Thankfully Griffith College have cameras outside their building and our two opportunists have been captured on camera – hopefully this will result in them getting what they deserve.

I must admit I was so furious and really upset about this – in the middle of all this “goodness” these thieves just turn up and show us all the other side of life.

A few phone calls later and Ger, the ever professional has a replacement camera and we have contacted the Gardai, the newspapers and radio stations and also been busy getting the message out on Twitter and Facebook.

Ger puts the incident to the back of his head and readies himself for the cycling troop.

Sean Kelly - Tour de Munster

Sean Kelly leads the Heroes up Patrick's Hill

The excitement continues to build and eventually the 150 troop are spotted coming across Patrick’s Bridge escorted by a Gardai motorbike team. They stop at the end of the bridge while the Gardai manage the traffic to let the cyclists through. Led by the absolute Irish cycling legend Sean Kelly who stayed with the team for the full four day cycle the cyclists burst from the bridge, up Bridge Street and start the determined and punishing climb up Patrick’s Hill with hundreds of friends and spectators cheering them on and encouraging them to the summit.

Some at their own manageable pace and some sprinting to the top – the daunting hill is a little bit too much for some of the cyclists after the 600 kilometre, four day test and they carry their bikes up the hill.

The last leg is a short journey to the Silversprings hotel for family reunions, refreshments and celebrations – in the comfort of our car we make our way to the hotel and pass four of the cyclists who stopped to help one of the guys fix a puncture literally one minute from the hotel – this cycle is about something very, very special.

The courageous efforts by these heroes will benefit the many heroes in Munster affected with Down Syndrome.

Unfortunately as in every other walk of life for all of the heroes we have we also have too many villains.

Villains – take a good hard look at yourself and realise what you are doing to good people … don’t forget you were caught on camera!

Heroes – I salute you.

Ger McCarthy – thanks for being a total professional as always & we all hope you will get your gear back.

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion

*Great Update – on Wednesday17th August (just 3 days after the incident) the cameras were recovered as a result of a house raid by the Gardai – this was possible due to the cameras, the help from the public, the help from the media and getting the story out on social media – all of this culminated in our friends being identified.

Good wins out in the end !