Armstrong pledges $500,000 for cancer patients

Updated: September 4, 2005, 12:38 AM ET news services

AUSTIN, Texas -- Seven-time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong and his namesake cancer survivorship foundation will donate $500,000 to help cancer victims displaced by Hurricane Katrina get treatment.

Red Cross

Armstrong said Saturday he expects the money will be used to help transport cancer patients to hospitals and cancer centers where they can continue to get treatment. He said more money could be donated in the future.

"If you've started treatment and you miss a week or two weeks, it's potentially fatal," Armstrong said. "For me and the foundation, we just looked at that and asked not just what can we do, but how does it fit into our mission?"

Armstrong survived a bout with testicular cancer that had spread to his lungs and brain before he won the first of his record seven straight Tours titles. He retired from competitive racing in July after his final Tour victory.

Armstrong said the money would be sent to the hospitals and cancer centers, which would then arrange for transportation for patients.

Armstrong said he's been following the hurricane crisis on television and in newspapers.

"It just seems like help was late to come there," he said.

Saturday's other Katrina developments:

• At college football games across the country Saturday, fans contributed money to help victims of the hurricane.

Fans at Wisconsin's 56-42 season-opening win against Bowling Green filled American Red Cross collection canisters, and there was a moment of silence before the Michigan-Northern Illinois game at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, Mich.

• The Milwaukee Brewers planned a similar fund-raiser during their game against San Diego on Saturday night, just as they will for every remaining game at Miller Park this season.

• NASCAR driver Carl Edwards dedicated his victory in the Busch Series Ameriquest 300 on Saturday night to the victims of the hurricane and said he planned to donate his winnings to one of the many relief funds.

• Some Alabama fans stayed home Saturday night to give at least 300 refugees from the hurricane a chance to see a Crimson Tide football game.

For the past several days Alabama fans have been dropping off their tickets to Saturday night's Middle Tennessee-Alabama game at a Red Cross shelter at the university's recreation center, which has been home to about 500 refugees.

• The University of New Orleans canceled its women's volleyball season, athletic director Jim Miller said.

• Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning and his brother Eli, of the New York Giants, who grew up in New Orleans, arrived in Baton Rouge, La., to help distribute 31,000 pounds of nonperishable items, including baby formula, diapers and water.

• New Orleans Saints running backs Deuce McAllister and Fred McAfee signed autographs and spent time with victims of the hurricane at the American Red Cross Center at the Mississippi Coliseum.

• Oakland Raiders quarterback Kerry Collins will make a $1,000 donation to the American Red Cross for every touchdown pass he throws and every game the Raiders win this season.

• The Green Bay Packers scheduled an autograph session and blood drive at a shopping mall for Sunday, and the Milwaukee Mile race track in West Allis, Wis., established a relief drive to gather food, diapers, water and toiletries.

• Buffalo Bills quarterback J.P. Losman will join those donating part of their salaries to help hurricane victims. A Southern California native, Losman spent four years playing at New Orleans-based Tulane before being selected by Buffalo in the first round of the 2004 draft.

He supports efforts by Baltimore Ravens Deion Sanders, who called for each team in the NFL, NBA and Major League Baseball, as well as other pro sports, to give at least $1,000 apiece through payroll deductions to help him reach a goal of $1.5 million to $3 million.

• Race tracks across the country have designated Oct. 8 as "Racing to the Rescue Day." Jockeys, trainers, breeders and owners will be encouraged to contribute a percentage of their purse winnings on Breeders' Cup Day at Belmont Park on Oct. 29 to help the horse racing community affected by the hurricane.

The NTRA's Charities Racing to the Rescue Fund will pass contributions on to existing charities established to aid in recovery efforts.

• Just as he did following last year's destructive hurricane season, golf Hall of Famer Greg Norman is lending his personal helicopter to the relief effort.

Norman sent the helicopter to the greater Louisiana area yesterday, and said it'll remain in service to help the cause for as long as month. His pilot, Gary Hogan, will fly medical supplies and other items into the affected areas.

Norman's estate on Jupiter Island, about 90 miles north of Miami, was damaged by hurricanes Frances and Jeanne last year, when he also lent the helicopter, which can carry about 1,000 pounds of supplies and shuttle small groups of patients and medics, if necessary, to recovery efforts.

• In addition to the hat that will be passed among fans at all major-league games Wednesday, Roberto Clemente Day, each Reds player will donate one day's pay (about $230,000 for the team), the Cincinnati Enquirer reported.

• The Rockets will turn the Toyota Center into a clearinghouse for aid and information called the Houston HopeFest next week, the Houston Chronicle reported.

"We're trying to create a one-stop place for people to try to get their lives back together," Rockets vice president Tad Brown told the paper.

• The arena that already hosts the NHL's Nashville Predators is being offered up as a temporary home for 12 home games for the NBA's New Orleans Hornets this season.

Hugh Lombardi, general manager of the Gaylord Entertainment Center, said he has contacted the NBA to offer the arena as a potential site for some home games. The New Orleans Arena is located next to the Louisiana Superdome, and the NBA has informed teams the Hornets may relocate.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.