- 2012 - September - 4th -

Lance Armstrong featured in 2012-13 Florida Forum lineup

by Karen Brune Mathis, Managing Editor

The Florida Forum works on lining up topical speakers. This year, its series includes one of the most newsworthy names of the moment — Lance Armstrong.

The forum is part of The Women’s Board of Wolfson Children’s Hospital and its lecture series is one of two major fundraisers each year.

The Daily Record first reported the 2012-13 Florida Forum lineup April 5, which means Armstrong was booked well before his recent headlines. Women’s Board President Jackie Bargas said last week he remains on the schedule.

Armstrong, one of the three speakers scheduled for the 2012-13 series, is on the calendar for six months from today, March 4.

As The Washington Post reported Aug. 24, Armstrong “persevered through the most difficult bicycle races on the planet and survived testicular cancer, but this week, the 40-year-old found a battle he had no interest in continuing.”

It reported what was being circulated worldwide: Armstrong said that he will stop fighting allegations that he used banned substances during his career, which he has denied.

After that announcement, the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency said it would ban the cyclist for life and recommend he be stripped of his record seven Tour de France titles.

The forum information lists Armstrong as he’s been known for years:

“The first and only professional cyclist to win the Tour de France seven times, Lance Armstrong has taken the sports world by storm since his first title win in 1999, following a fierce battle with cancer,” an invitation states.

“It is his determination, perseverance and strength, however, that endure in justifying his status as a household name,” it continues.

“Armstrong continues to be a leader and activist on behalf of cancer survivors around the world, while his Foundation has become among the most influential organizations of its kind, today providing practical information and tools people need to battle cancer and live strong through education advocacy, public health programs and research grants.”

Armstrong is scheduled to speak at 7 p.m. March 4 at the Times-Union Center. Wells Fargo is listed as the sponsor.

The forum lineup starts Oct. 2 with Walter Isaacson, the biographer of the late Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple. His speech is presented by Florida Blue.

The series continues Feb. 2 with former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, who is presented by Landstar System Inc.

The forum concludes with Armstrong.

Florida Forum chairs for the coming series are Martha Baker and Sharon Lucie.

The forum is one of two major benefits produced annually by the all-volunteer Women’s Board. The other is the Art & Antiques Show.

Established in 1973 by civic leader Ellen Cavert, the volunteer board is designed to raise community awareness and to fund resources for Wolfson Children’s Hospital. Since its start, the board has raised more than $23 million for the hospital.

The 2012-13 Florida Forum will contribute funds for programs and clinical equipment needs in addition to a five-year, $4 million pledge to the Larry J. Freeman Behavioral Health Center, which provides counseling and support for children facing surgery and illness in some cases terminal.

The center also addresses the full spectrum of psychiatric illness, as well as childhood obesity, eating disorders and depression, among others.

Counting the coming year’s lineup, the forum has brought about 70 speakers to town since 1992-93.

The list includes former Presidents George H.W. Bush, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton; former first lady Barbara Bush; former Vice Presidents Dick Cheney and Dan Quayle; former U.S. Secretaries of State Condoleezza Rice, Colin Powell, Henry Kissinger, Madeleine Albright and James A. Baker III; and Prime Ministers Benazir Bhutto, Margaret Thatcher and John Major.

Journalists have included Bob Woodward, Anderson Cooper, Ted Koppel, Tim Russert, Katie Couric, Tom Brokaw, Cokie Roberts and Barbara Walters.

The forum has featured other elected officials, authors, actors, military leaders, sports legends, business leaders and comedians, including Jay Leno and Bill Cosby.

For information about the forum, visit www.thefloridaforum.com or call 202-2886.




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