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Livestrong -- now 50 million strong
Report: Nike and Lance Armstrong Foundation distribute 10 times more bracelets than planned.
May 14, 2005: 12:35 AM EDT

NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - After nearly one year, sporting goods maker Nike has distributed 50 million of the ubiquitous yellow "Livestrong" bracelets -- 10 times as many as planned -- to raise money for cancer research, USA Today reported Friday.

The rubber bracelets have been distributed for a $1-per-bracelet donation in association with the Lance Armstrong Foundation, named for the six-time Tour de France-winning cyclist who overcame testicular cancer in the 1990s.

The paper said that Nike (Research) originally planned to distribute 5 million of the bracelets, and quoted Armstrong as saying he thought that might be too many.

"I figured we'd be shooting them at each other for years," he told the paper.

Armstrong first gained attention for wearing the bracelet during last year's Tour. The bracelet wearing spread to other notable figures, including singer Sheryl Crow, Armstrong's girlfriend, and presidential candidate John Kerry. By last fall, the bracelets were backordered for months at a time.

USA Today quoted president Mitchell Stoller as saying the foundation keeps 77 cents of every dollar raised, with the rest going to production costs. He said 81 percent of the money kept is dedicated to educational and grant programs for cancer survivors and research.

Nike plans to follow up with a line of Livestrong clothing and shoes named "10/2" to mark the date in 1996 when Armstrong was diagnosed with the cancer.

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Lance Armstrong
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