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Last Wednesday evening, October 13, seven-time Tour De France winner Lance Armstrong visited Sugarbush Resort as the featured guest at a fund-raising dinner for the Burlington-based Mary Haas Ovarian Cancer Early Detection Foundation.
Armstrong was the guest of honor at a private reception for large donors in the owner's lounge of Clay Brook at Sugarbush. Armstrong then moved on to Sugarbush's Gate House Lodge where he was the featured speaker at a dinner for approximately 220 guests. Meredith Burak, president of the Mary Haas Foundation, introduced Armstrong, who spoke of cancer's impact on his life.
"My doctor said to me, at the end of my treatment, 'Lance, there are two doors you can walk out of. There's a private door, where no one will see you and no one will ever have to know what you've been through. And then there's a public door, where people are going to see you, and you're going to need to tell your story.' I chose the public door, and that has been one of the most important decisions of my life."
Armstrong first drew national attention in the 1990s as a member of the U.S. Olympic Cycling Team and a winner of stage victories in the Tour De France. Armstrong's diagnosis of advanced testicular cancer in 1996 led to the creation of The Lance Armstrong Foundation, an organization established to raise money for cancer awareness. In 1999, a cancer-free Armstrong began his comeback, winning the first of seven victories in the Tour De France.
The Mary Haas Ovarian Cancer Early Detection Foundation was established in 2009 in memory of Mary Haas, a top financial advisor at Merrill Lynch in Burlington who was diagnosed with and shortly thereafter succumbed to ovarian cancer. Guests in attendance at the event included Bank of America's global wealth management division head Sally Krawcheck, American Century Investments CEO Jonathan Thomas, and former chairman of Merrill Lynch International and current Sugarbush President Win Smith. Last year's event raised over $100,000 for the foundation.