The signature yellow bands of Lance Armstrong’s cancer research organization, the Lance Armstrong Foundation, have infiltrated our accessory collection. They were launched with the aspiration of raising six million dollars vis-à-vis the sale of five million one dollar bands along with a $1 million donation from shoe giant Nike. So far eleven million have been sold and the orders keep on coming.
The LAF has been unable to meet the demand, as a result the bands are back-ordered for three weeks. Unscrupulous people who have previously bought them in mass quantities are re-selling them on eBay for up to 30 dollars. Foundation spokeswoman Michelle Milford says that the profit made on eBay goes to the seller and not the organization. One dollar for cancer research and 29 for a creep.
Unfortunately, re-selling the bands for more than a dollar is not illegal. If someone is immorally re-selling them, that means someone is immorally buying them. People with a need for the yellow bands should wait for the stock to be replenished.
Even Bush and Kerry have recently jumped onto the trend bandwagon. The candidates were spotted wearing the bands months after the May debut. I am sure they are late on most trends. Just recently, Bush started to wear his shirt collar up and Kerry has traded his hockey skates for Macarena lessons.
For the haute and trendy band wearers, the real reason to sport the yellow is to help young people with cancer “live strong.” True supporters know this but like any popular phenomenon, there is a select group who touts the cause with ignorance of reason.
The issue is not with the bands themselves but the misuse of a fine idea. Advocates of cancer research found a common bond in band-wearing but trend setters and devious money makers have corrupted the good spirit of donation.
For the sake of those who need something tangible in return for generosity, all credit goes to Lance Armstrong for capitalizing on materialism. The bands are selling like hot cakes and cancer research is profiting hand over fist. Somehow though, it’s doubtful Armstrong imagined the bands to become trend categorized with the likes of early 1990s slap bracelets.
The materialistic demand of the bands has made me question some buyers’ motives. Setting cynicism aside, most people actually want to donate to LAF. Perhaps trendsetting has no correlation with the high demand. But people seeking bands for the sake of having one should know donations to LAF or any medical research organization are appreciated and needed at any time even if rubber bands are not a by-product.
The high demand for the bands leads me to believe that like Vietnam War Prisoner of War bracelets, a good cause has become a trend.
The AIDS red ribbon and the pink breast cancer ribbon, created in 1991, survived becoming a trend and are now iconic symbols of cancer awareness. By definition ribbons, signify awareness. The use of bracelets for awareness has created a fine line between fashion and disease research support.
Since the bands are scarce, trend followers will have to wait. I hope the stock can be replenished before the trendier seek an alternate accessory. For the good intentions of the LAF, I fear the trend will fly out the window along with the resurgence of 1980s-style iconic leg warmers and plastic neon jewelry.
While the world awaits the next shipment, trendsetters should feel free to try a different trend; donate to any medical research organization without self-gratification. Altruism, now that’s a new trend.
Nicole D’Andrea can be reached at email@example.com.