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Armstrong Still A Friend And Inspiration To Some North Texans

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RICHARDSON (CBS 11 NEWS) – Stripped of his titles and banned from cycling.  Lance Armstrong’s reputation in the cycling world may now be tarnished for good.

But some North Texans say he’s still their friend and, in one case, a possible life-saver.

“He’s still the man we know,” said Jack Gillespie.

Gillespie remembers putting Lance Armstrong’s first sponsored bike together.

“The first one given to him free by a manufacturer,” Gillespie said.

Armstrong was just a teenager then.

“15 or16,” Gillespie guessed.

Gillespie has watched Armstrong through many of the cycles of his life and believes the seven time Tour de France winner stopped fighting doping allegations to focus on his foundation.

“I think it has been affecting his cancer foundation. I think that’s one of the reasons he did what he  did yesterday,” said Gillespie.

Bob Rasch of Dallas never met Lance Armstrong, but the two have something in common – testicular cancer.

“I was diagnosed in February of this year,” Rasch said.

Armstrong’s Livestrong website has been a big help.

“His website was very helpful in helping me determine A – I needed to get to a doctor and B – I probably had cancer,” he said.

For Bob Rasch, Lance Armstrong is still an inspiration no matter Armstrong’s fall in the world of professional cycling.

“It’s disappointing all the way around.  It doesn’t take away from what he’s done for cancer research. And, it doesn’t take away from the fact that he’s a cancer survivor,” Rasch said.

And no one can take that away from Lance Armstrong.

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