Quickly now, what is yellow, made of rubber, costs only $1, and helps cancer research, education, public health, and research programs?
The answer is the “LIVESTRONG” bracelet, which has become a must-have all over the United States. Since May 2004, the total sales of these bracelets have exceeded more than 20 million pieces. The 20 million pieces are already about 6 percent of the total population.
Every race, ethnicity, social class, gender and occupation has at least one thing in common: they all have a fashion accessory on their wrist, and it is not jewelry. Famous faces such as Donald Trump, Jennifer Aniston, Kobe Bryant and Bill Gates have been seen wearing the yellow bracelet.
Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong started the phenomenon. Armstrong is a prostate cancer survivor who also wanted to give the other 10 million cancer patients a chance to live a healthy life. Money generated from the sales goes to fund cancer research.
“What I went through, I did not want anybody else to go through, so the decision was made to start selling the bracelets at a good price, and for a great cause,” Armstrong said in an interview with ESPN.com.
The idea simply worked to perfection. Some people wear them as a fashion accessory and others wear them as their way of showing support, but everybody gave their dollar bill to a good cause.
It was only a matter of time before others caught on and made every color bracelet imaginable. Here are just some of the many other causes that are represented with the bracelets: a pink bracelet means breast cancer, a teal bracelet means ovarian cancer, a blue bracelet means either tsunami relief, cystic fibrosis, autism, colon cancer, bone marrow, or supporting our troops, a green bracelet means kidney cancer, a red bracelet means AIDS, or tobacco free, and black means anti-political.
You name a cause, and there is a bracelet for it. And by the way, who needs an American flag in the classroom when students can have one on their wrists? Yes, there is even a bracelet with the fifty stars on it.
Here at the college, ASGCC have started selling red bracelets to help fund aid the tsunami victims. Students can buy them at the student store.
“They are all for curing different types of cancer, but they also look good so I just never take them off,” said Vanand Nikolian, a GCC student, who has yellow, pink, red and black.
Others have a different view on the bracelets.
“Everyone is wearing some sort of color, and it is pretty annoying,” said Chris Dusek, also a student. “I don’t think any of them really know why Lance introduced them in the first place.”
Recently, fake bracelets have surfaced onto the scene. For example, a fake bracelet can be yellow just like the “LIVESTRONG” ones but “LIVESTRONG” is not written on them.
Three stores in Mount Vernon, two in White Plains, two in Yonkers and one in Yorktown were charged with deceptive trade practices by the Westchester County Department of Consumer Protection.
“Someone buying a Lance Armstrong wristband thinks their money is going to a charitable program to help those with cancer,” County Executive Andrew Spano said. “But with these phony bracelets, that is not the case.”
Foundation lawyers are seeking cease-and-desist orders against numerous manufacturers and distributors of the phony bracelets worldwide, and Westchester officials said they would continue to seek out and issue summonses to stores found selling them.
Why somebody would buy a fake one instead of the real one is, and forever will be one of life’s mysteries.
It is not a mystery, however, that Armstrong is sitting in his living room with a yellow bracelet on his wrist right next to Sheryl Crow, who is gleaming with hope that one day there will be a cure for cancer.