Global newsmaker: Katherine McLane

Founded in 1997 by cancer survivor and champion cyclist Lance Armstrong, Livestrong is mostly recognised for the iconic yellow wristband - that spawned a host of replicas.

Katherine McLane
Katherine McLane

After announcing that this year’s Tour de France will be his last, Katherine McLane, senior director, communications and external affairs talks about using the worlds most famous bike race to raise awareness of the brand on a global scale.

The Tour de France is taking place at the moment and Lance Armstrong is undoubtedly a vital element to the Livestrong brand. How important is the Tour de France in the Livestrong calendar in raising global awareness for the brand?

The Tour de France provides Livestrong with an extraordinary opportunity to put our message front and center on a global stage and shine a spotlight on this disease that will become the leading cause of death worldwide this year.

What PR strategies are you using to build awareness and raise the profile of Livestrong during the Tour?

Livestrong takes the fight against cancer to the Tour de France, July 3-25, 2010, with the goal of igniting a groundswell of support for its cause while reducing the stigma that surrounds the disease. 

To name part of our strategy, this summer Lance Armstrong and the members of Team RadioShack are honoring everyday heroes in the fight against cancer through ‘I RIDE FOR LIVESTRONG,’ an initiative of the Livestrong Global Cancer Campaign to engage more people in the fight against cancer.

Long-time Livestrong partner Nike is also bringing the ‘Chalkbot’ back by popular demand after its successful premiere at last year's Tour. Through the Chalkbot, Nike gives supporters the opportunity to submit inspirational messages online at and via interactive banners on Facebook and Twitter. The messages are then written in yellow chalk on the roads of the Tour de France, following the cycling tradition of inscribing inspirational messages along the course.

How has digital and social media tools transformed the way you run campaigns?

Digital and social media have revolutionised the way we communicate with our constituents. It has enabled us to grow our global movement, only just 18 months old, at a rate that would have otherwise taken us years.  We now have Livestrong Leaders championing our cause in more than 50 countries around the world.

How will Livestrong continue to raise awareness throughout the rest of the year?

Livestrong’s landmark day of global action and awareness is on October 2, 2010, which also marks the 14th anniversary of Lance’s cancer diagnosis. Livestrong supporters around the world host awareness events in their communities and encourage other people to join the global fight against cancer.

What are your media must-have, digital/print? 

Livestrong has a unique position that spans across many areas – cancer, health policy, social change, sports, health and wellness – and is international in reach.  Therefore we actively read/watch a wide variety of news including: CNN International, ESPN, The New York Times, USA Today, The Daily Beast, VeloNation, The Non-Profit Times, The Journal of Clinical Oncology, BikeSnob, Tonic,,, Metro World News, NPR, just to name a few.

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