Awareness • Early Detection • Treatment • Research • Survivorship

A Survivor at Every Rink: Carolina Hurricanes

Raleigh, NC. North Carolina lung cancer survivors Dusty Donalson and Tomma Hargraves will represented Team Draft at PNC Arena on Saturday night. They watched the Carolina Hurricanes defeat the Ottawa Senators. #HockeyFightsCancer #LCAM15

Dusty Joy Donaldson

In September 2005, at the age of 51, Dusty Donaldson was diagnosed with lung cancer. It was then she learned the eye-opening facts about this disease and became a passionate advocate for lung cancer awareness, research and early detection. For the first few years after her diagnosis, Dusty volunteered with several nonprofits, including the American Cancer Society, National Lung Cancer Partnership, Lung Cancer Alliance and others before founding a 501(c)(3) nonprofit in March 2010. The mission of the Dusty Joy Foundation is advancing lung cancer awareness, early detection and compassion for people impacted by lung cancer. Dusty enjoys collaborating with other nonprofits focused on lung cancer advocacy, including one of her favorites, the Chris Draft Family Foundation. Dusty serves as co-leader of the Lung Cancer Action Network (LungCAN), a coalition of all the U.S.-based nonprofits dedicated to lung cancer.

Prior to her diagnosis, Dusty was a former journalist and public relations professional. She earned a BA in journalism from Norfolk State University and an MA in journalism from Regent University. She worked as a writer and editor before entering the field of public relations where she worked for Womble Carlyle and Wake Forest University. Dusty also earned a nonprofit management certificate from Duke University. She now uses her journalism and public relations skills to raise awareness about the number one cancer killer.

Tomma Hargraves

Eight years after her diagnosis, lung cancer survivor Tomma Hargraves is training to become a lay navigator with UNC Lineberger, giving back to the hospital that she credits with saving her life.

In October of 2006, Tomma Hargraves found a small lump in her neck. Although she felt very healthy, she went to her doctor to have the lump checked out. A few days later, she received a diagnosis that shocked her: Stage 3B non-small cell lung cancer. The tumor was in the right lobe of her lungs, and the cancer had spread to the lymph nodes on the left side of her neck.

“I wish I had known that non-smokers and people who had quit long ago could get lung cancer,” says Hargraves. I thought I had done everything right, and I still got lung cancer.”

Read more about Tomma’s journey

Given the overwhelming success of our Survivor at Every Stadium initiative, in 2012, we expanded it beyond the gridiron to the ice through our Survivor at Every Rink initiative. As part of Team Draft’s National Campaign to Change the Face of Lung Cancer, this celebration of survivorship raises awareness, gives hope to those battling the disease and shines a light on the important work being done at cancer research and treatment centers across North America.

Through our Survivor at Every Rink initiative, we are working with all NHL teams to have a lung cancer survivor attend one of the team’s home games as a part of their national initiative, Hockey Fights Cancer!

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 Carolina Hurricanes, the NHL, UNC Lineberger Cancer Center, Duke 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!
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