Tampa, FL. Ft. Myers lung cancer survivor-advocate Melissa Crouse represented Team Draft at the USF Bulls game last night. Melissa watched the USF Bulls play a tough game against the undefeated Memphis Tigers. #tacklinglungcancer
“I may have cancer, but it doesn’t have me!!!” ~ Melissa Crouse
Eight years ago I was diagnosed with NSCLC (non-small cell lung cancer) and was given between three and five years to live. As a relatively young healthy woman who worked out every day, I was shocked. I was in good shape and I never, ever smoked. I’ve survived four recurrences, dealt with (and continue to deal with) metastases, countless chemotherapy treatments, a course of radiation and several treatment related life threatening issues. It is a roller coaster ride, but it’s my reality.
I am a stage IV lung cancer patient, but I continue to work as a teacher and try to live each day to the fullest. I\’ve let go of a lot of emotional baggage and become a lot more tolerant of things that used to bother me because I now realize how silly it is to waste time on negativity. I adore my family and treasure the times we are together. In many ways, dealing with this monster has made a positive impact on my life. I am very fortunate to have what I consider the best doctors caring for me. Instead of focusing on the numerous pesky side effects from chemo, I choose to be grateful that I am still here and am able to enjoy life…..particularly the fact that I still feel productive. I am becoming more active as an advocate and feel so blessed that I can offer hope and encouragement to others.
In 2012, we, Team Draft, launched our inaugural Survivor at Every Stadium initiative on CNN during a nationally-televised prime time special focusing on lung cancer and our National Campaign to Change the Face of Lung Cancer.
Leveraging our connections with the NFL and the NCAA, its teams and players and our relationships with many of the top cancer centers in the country, As part of our National Campaign, this celebration of survivorship raises lung cancer awareness, gives hope to those battling the disease, and shines a light on the important work being done at cancer research and treatment centers around the country. >P>Team Draft’s goals are to create a unique experience for participating survivors and to raise awareness on a local, national, and international level by using each game and each survivor’s story to weave a broader narrative about the state of cancer and the hope that now exists for those battling the disease.
Special thanks to the University of South Florida Bulls, Mass General, USF Moffit Cancer Center and our Team Draft supporters for helping make this experience possible.