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Lance Armstrong Doping Probe Hasn't Interfered With Foundation's Fundraising

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LANCE ARMSTRONG FOUNDATION
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Twenty-six accusers may have come forward with doping evidence to take down Lance Armstrong, but the world’s most famous cyclist’s charity is still going strong.

The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency released a 200-page report Wednesday replete with allegations against the seven-time Tour de France winner. Among its many claims, the report states that Armstrong turned hotel rooms into blood-transfusion centers and coerced teammates into taking performance-enhancing drugs, the AP reports. But despite the damning evidence, and the mounting suspicions leading up to Wednesday’s breakthrough report, the Lance Armstrong Foundation is still thriving.

According to ESPN, revenues for the charity, year-to-date through Sept. 30, are up 2.1 percent to $33.8 million. The number of donations is also up by 5.4 percent compared with 2011.

"It's pretty much across the board higher than normal," Doug Ulman, the foundation's CEO, told the news outlet.

While it remains to be seen if the latest round of drug reports will affect how donors support the foundation that aims to raise awareness for cancer, it’s clear that the organization hasn’t suffered any setbacks just yet.

Back in August, Armstrong declared that he would stop fighting the doping charges waged against him, which meant he would be banned for life from cycling and would be stripped of his Tour de France medals.

“I will commit myself to the work I began before ever winning a single Tour de France title," Armstrong said in a statement on Aug. 23, "serving people and families affected by cancer, especially those in underserved communities.”

Twenty-four hours later, the charity got $78,000 in donations, up 25 times the amount it had received the day before Armstrong had made his announcement.

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Now, as the foundation gears up to celebrate its 15th anniversary, it can also revel in another fundraising win –- pulling in $2.5 million in honor of the milestone, according to ESPN.

But while Armstrong continues to use his charity as a way to clean up his tarnished image, the foundation itself hasn’t been free of repudiation.

In his in-depth examination of the Lance Armstrong Foundation’s operations, Bill Gifford from Outside detailed how some have criticized the organization for ceasing to fund cancer research. From 1998 to 2005, the foundation doled out a total of $20 million in research grants and then started phasing out its support of hard science. Yet, the organization has been recently heralded as a leader in its support for scientific research. In 2010, the AP named it “one of the top 10 groups funding cancer research in the United States.”

But Armstrong was able to defend this criticism, too.

“We can’t control what everybody says they’re wearing the bracelets for,” Armstrong told Gifford in an interview.

But despite growing evidence against Armstrong and criticism of the foundation, the organization’s leaders remain staunchly committed to the cause and to sticking by its founder.

"[Lance Armstrong's] dedication to advancing the fight against cancer in the United States and throughout the world is unparalleled," Ulman said in a statement Wednesday. "We are deeply grateful for his leadership and incredibly proud of his achievements, both on and off the bike."

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