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Armstrong launches cancer campaign in Australia

Lance Armstrong, 37, a day after racing in the Cancer Council Classic

Lance Armstrong, 37, a day after racing in the Cancer Council Classic (Image credit: Mark Gunter)

By Greg Johnson in Sydney, Australia

Lance Armstrong swapped his bike kit for a suit today as he launched the Livestrong Foundation's Global Cancer Campaign in Australia. The seven-time Tour de France winner addressed hundreds of people across three states via a video link from Royal Adelaide Hospital.

"Cancer worldwide has become a massive problem, but it has also become a complacent problem, and we're not doing enough for my taste," Armstrong said to the audience, which featured cancer survivors, academics and media.

The rider compared the global cancer epidemic to the losses from the September 11, 2001, terror attacks on New York's World Trade Center to emphasis the disease's impact. Some 27.5 million people are estimated to have died from the disease during Armstrong's three and a half years out of the sport; something which the Texan says is truly terrifying.

"On September 11, 2001, over 3,000 people from the United States and around the world died, and the world came to a halt. This disease is true terror," he said.

Fellow cancer survivor and Australian Federal Treasurer Wayne Swan also address the assembled guests. Swan announced with local Premier Mike Rann that they would combined donate $17 million to build a children's cancer centre at the Adelaide Women's and Children's Hospital.

"Lance is a modern miracle. This is a battle we can win. We have the means, we just need to have the will," said Swan, who gave firm backing to the roles that cancer foundations worldwide play. "Governments can't do it all on their own. That is why foundations play such an important role."

Swan also said the government will give $15 million, including $2 million for the McGuiness McDermott Foundation.

South Australian Premier Mike Rann also announced his government will triple whatever funds Cancer Council SA raise during the Tour Down Under.

To donate to the Cancer Council SA, a major partner in this year's event, visit: www.cancersa.org.au

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