Cancer centre puzzles over fate of Lance Armstrong jersey

A framed Lance Armstong jersey has become a focus of controversy at Thunder Bay's Regional Health Sciences Centre.

Some Thunder Bay patients say jersey's presence no longer inspiring after Armstrong's doping admission

Lance Armstrong's Tour de France jersey has been on display at Thunder Bay's cancer centre since 2006. Some patients say they'd like it taken down. (Gord Ellis/CBC)

A framed Lance Armstong jersey has become a focus of controversy at Thunder Bay's Regional Health Sciences Centre. 

The autographed shirt hangs in the cancer centre, just outside the chemotherapy room — and not everyone thinks it should stay there.

Scott Chisholm helped bring the signed Tour De France jersey to the Thunder Bay cancer program facility, back in 2006, when the city's firefighters wanted Armstrong's successful battle with cancer to be an inspiration. Chisholm said he expected controversy after Lance Armstrong recently admitted to doping during his cycling career.

In this July 22, 2004, file photo, Lance Armstrong reacts as he crosses the finish line to win the 17th stage of the Tour de France cycling race between Bourd-d'Oisans and Le Grand Bornand, French Alps. In 2004, Armstrong was also named Associated Press Male Athlete of the Year and ESPN's ESPY Award for Best Male Athlete. (AP Photo/Laurent Rebours)

While Chisholm said he feels let down by the doping, he said he believes Armstrong has helped many people.

"What was written in his books and the inspiration, it got people on their bikes," he said. "It certainly changed the whole world of cancer prevention and cancer awareness."

Patient complaints

The director with Regional Cancer Care Northwest said the yellow jersey has been a source of hope, but there have been complaints.

"There have been a few patients that have been very vocal about their concerns with it being in the cancer program," Joanne Lacourciere said.

"So we have to honour everyone’s perspectives."

Lacourciere said the cancer centre hopes to decide what to do with the jersey within a few weeks.

"It's a tough one," she said.

"Everyone looks at it from a different perspective. Everyone relates to Lance, and his story, in a very different way. So it is a challenge for the cancer program to figure out what to do next with the display."

Lacourciere said officials with the cancer centre plan to meet with some of the patients as they attempt "to figure out what the right thing is to do."