Awareness • Early Detection • Treatment • Research • Survivorship

A Survivor at Every College Stadium: Texas Tech Red Raiders

Lubbock, TX. Lung cancer survivor-advocate Janet Dertien represented Team Draft at Texas Tech’s Jones AT&T Stadium on Saturday. Janet and her family watched the Texas Tech Red Raiders take on the visiting Oklahoma State Cowboys. #RedRaidersvsCowboys #TTUvsOSU #ASurvivoratEveryCollegeStadium #tacklinglungcancer

Texas Tech Head Coach Kliff Kinsbury #tacklinglungcancer

He keeps a copy of the eulogy from his mother’s funeral in his locker. Sally Kingsbury wrote the eulogy herself as she prepared to die from sarcoma, a form of lung cancer, in 2005.

Kingsbury admires his mom for displaying grace in using the eulogy to honor all of the people in her life as it drew to an end. He recites the eulogy’s opening line from memory: “It’s been one hell of a party, Woodrow.” She cribbed that from The Lonesome Dove, her favorite show. In life and in death, it was her motto.

Kingsbury’s mom and dad, the two biggest influences in his life, were opposites. His dad, Tim, is a former high school football coach, an alpha male Vietnam veteran. His mom was a free spirit with a permanent smile who delighted in being loud and boisterous and embarrassing her two boys (Kliff has an older brother, Klint).

So idyllic was Kingsbury’s upbringing in New Braunfels, Texas, that he says, “I have no excuse to ever do anything but live an amazing life considering the way I was raised.”

He briefly left the New York Jets to be with her in her last days. “She was really the only person I ever showed weakness to,” he says. He talked to her about girl problems, confidence issues, whatever troubled him, and she always listened.

“I still talk to her a bunch,” he says. “When I’m at home or before games, I just kind of talk to her on my own.”

Seeing her stay strong as she succumbed to the sarcoma, and the loving way his dad took care of her, changed Kingsbury.

“I stopped worrying about things as much, what people thought. Just cut loose. Watching her go through that, how she handled it, I’ll never have a bad day after that,” he says. “To her last dying breath, it was about, ‘Hey, make sure your dad’s OK, make sure you’re OK. Are you going to be OK? Is your brother going to be OK?’ Not once was it about her. That selflessness, and that courage, was something that always stuck with me.”

Read the full Bleacher Report story

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.

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 TTU Head Coach Kliff Kingsbury, Texas Tech, the Fehoko Family, West Texas Cancer Survivors Network, Texas Tech Cancer Center and our Team Draft supporters for helping make this experience possible.

Donate now to Support the National Campaign to Change the Face of Lung Cancer!