- The Washington Times - Friday, November 12, 2004

Gwyneth Paltrow wears one. So does Matt Damon, Ellen DeGeneres and Bono. Even Sen. John Kerry and President Bush have one.

It’s the newest wrist accessory — a bright yellow “Live Strong” wristband that is part of the Lance Armstrong Foundation’s fight against cancer. Six-time Tour de France winner and cancer survivor Armstrong’s mantra is “Live Strong.”

The “Wear Yellow Live Strong” campaign is more than 22 million strong — so strong that the $1 silicone rubber bracelets are hard to find.

“Once a couple of celebrities wear it, it gets into the mainstream quickly,” said Lucian James, brand consultant at Agenda Inc. in San Francisco. “Celebrities carry a lot of power.”

Bracelets have become the new ribbons: They are the latest way to show support or make a statement.

Stars including Madonna, Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher have tied a Kabbalah red string around their wrists in an effort to fend off the “evil eye” or negative forces.

Other groups are hoping the trend doesn’t die anytime soon because they have created their own cause-related wrist jewelry.

The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids is selling red bracelets with the number “1,200,” symbolizing how many people die each day from tobacco use. The runners of the Marine Corps Marathon on Oct. 31 were the first to receive the red wristbands. Since Nov. 1, more than 7,000 bracelets have been sold at $1 each.

American Eagle Outfitters on Oct. 27 started selling snap-on bracelets that benefit children’s charities. The bracelets are a “thank you” gift for a donation of $1 or more, according to its Web site.

“They are simple but a stylish way to show support,” said Emily Leon, senior manager of public relations. “They make more than a fashion statement.”

The bracelets, which will be sold through Tuesday, come in red, orange, green and blue, with “American Eagle Outfitters” engraved on them.

Even the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, known for a pink ribbon, has a silicone pink wristband that says “Sharing the Promise.” Those bracelets, which cost $5 for five, are on back order and won’t be shipped until early December, the foundation’s Web site states.

Although it is difficult to find the “Live Strong” bracelets, their popularity continues to grow among men and women.

The campaign, which is a partnership between the Lance Armstrong Foundation and Nike, began in May in the hope of raising $5 million for programs to help people with cancer.

Nike donated the first $1 million. The campaign has far surpassed its original goal, raising at least $22 million through the sale of the bracelets.

“I am only one of more than 10 million Americans living with and beyond cancer, so there are at least 10 million reasons why I wear my Live Strong wristband every day,” Mr. Armstrong said.

The foundation sells about 150,000 wristbands every day on its Web site, which warns of a three-to four-week wait for the bracelet.

The bracelets sold out at Nike locations in July, but are expected back in Niketown locations, Nikewomen stores and Niketown Outlets this weekend.

Discovery Channel Stores, the retail division of Discovery Communications, began selling the bracelets during the summer. The Silver Spring media and entertainment company signed a three-year agreement in June as the title sponsor of Mr. Armstrong’s professional cycling team, beginning in 2005.

Discovery has sold about 100,000 bracelets.

“They are moving very quickly,” said Pamela Rucker, vice president of communications for Discovery Consumer Products. “They are incredibly popular.”

Don’t count out EBay as a source. The auction Web site is rife with yellow bracelets selling for five to 10 times the suggested donation.

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