Ann Arbor, MI. University of Michigan lung cancer survivor Tori Tomalia, and her husband, represented Team Draft at the Big House on Saturday. Tori will watch the University of Michigan Wolverines take on the Northwestern Wildcats. #BigBlue #Tacklinglungcancer
Tori Tomalia is a two-time cancer survivor currently living with stage 4 non-small cell lung cancer since May of 2013. Her first cancer experience was childhood osteogenic sarcoma, for which she received chemotherapy and curative surgery, and had been cancer-free for over 20 years prior to the lung cancer diagnosis. Along with cancer, Tori juggles life as a mom of 3 small children, a wife, a theatre artist, writer and lung cancer awareness advocate.
Prior to the game, Tori will attend a tailgate hosted by Sarah Murray. Sarah is the founder of the Vada Murray Cancer Fund that funds research at the University of Michigan Cancer Center.
Vada Murray was an athlete all his life. He grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio playing every sport he could. After graduating From Cincinnati Moeller High School, he went on to play defensive back under Bo Schembechler for the University of Michigan from 1986-1990 and went to 3 Rose Bowls during this time at Michigan.
Vada turned down an opportunity to play for the NFL, choosing instead to dedicate his life to public service by becoming a police officer for the Ann Arbor Police Department. He proudly served the city and the citizens of the Ann Arbor area for 21 years.
Vada married his wife Sarah in 2001. Together they had two beautiful and talented daughters. They enjoyed a rigorous health and fitness regimen.
Late in 2008, Vada was unexpectedly diagnosed with advanced lung cancer at the age of 41. Neither Vada nor his parents ever smoked. He endured months of chemotherapy and physical and emotional pain but remained determined to win the battle against this unexpected and unfair opponent. Tragically, Vada passed away on April 6th, 2011 at the age of 43, leaving behind his wife, Sarah, son Deric (12), and daughters Kendall (8) and Harper (6).
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 University of Michigan, UM Cancer Center, Sarah Murray 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! www.teamdraft.org