Lance Armstrong is about two things: cancer survival and cycling. One is as much as part of him -- his legacy, his celebrity, his success -- as the other.
So it's no surprise that Armstrong spends much of his time connecting with fellow cancer patients and survivors. It's his thing. His ability to direct donations and move grassroots mountains is uniquely powerful among professional athletes, and to his credit, Armstrong uses this power for good.
Unless he's fooled, and it appears he recently was. Armstrong had been communicating with a someone named Jonathan Jay White, whom Armstrong believed to be a 15-year-old afflicted with cancer. Armstrong called attention to White's blog, and a Livestrong campaigner had spoken with White and his "single father" numerous times over the phone.
This week, that campaigner was ready to fly to Arizona to meet White before his surgery when she received an email stating the entire thing was a lie. Since then, Armstrong and company have lodged a complaint with the U.S. authorities and the campaigner, Gena Solar, has started a blog calling Jonathan Jay White "a fraud." Armstrong has since tweeted about the blog post, and seems fairly convinced Solar's account of the mess is accurate.
Which, if true, is disgusting, but probably not all that surprising. The generous deeds of good people have been the perfect targets for scammers since the dawn of time, and when someone can move as much money to donation coffers as Lance Armstrong can, someone's going to try to grease the wheels. It was probably only a matter of time.
Eamonn Brennan is a Chicago-based writer, editor and blogger. You can also read him at Yahoo! Sports, Mouthpiece Sports Blog, and Inside The Hall, or at his personal site, eamonnbrennan.com. Follow him on Twitter.