AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) - The Lance Armstrong Foundation said on Friday that by the middle of the day, donations were up 30 percent over Thursday as fans of the cancer-fighting nonprofit pledged support for its founder after the cycling champion was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles.
Chief executive Doug Ulman said that the foundation, Livestrong, has received an outpouring of support, including from cancer survivors who recalled the help it gave them when they were diagnosed.
“It’s been overwhelming,” Ulman said in an interview at the foundation’s Austin, Texas, headquarters. “The number of emails, the number of calls, the number of messages have been just really humbling.”
Armstrong was stripped of his Tour titles and handed a lifetime ban by the United States Anti-Doping Agency after he announced late Thursday that he would not challenge USADA’s charges that he had doped throughout his career. He denies that he ever used performance-enhancing drugs.
Ulman said the supporters of Livestrong, which is known for its yellow bracelets, “respect Lance’s decision and I think they just want to move on.”
The 100-employee foundation, which works to improve the lives of people affected by cancer, did not immediately provide an exact amount of donations for Thursday or Friday, but it raised $51 million in 2011.
Reporting By Corrie MacLaggan; Editing by Greg McCune