Awareness • Early Detection • Treatment • Research • Survivorship

A Survivor at Every Stadium: Buffalo Bills

Orchard Park, NY. Toronto lung cancer survivor & Lung Cancer Canada Board member Anne Marie Cerato represented Team Draft at the Buffalo Bills vs. Green Bay Packers game.

Anne Marie Cerato
Age: 35
City: Toronto, Ont.

I was diagnosed with Stage 3A adenocarcinoma (cancer that affects several organs) in 2009 at the age of 30. After undergoing radiation, chemotherapy and surgery, in 2011, my cancer returned in both lungs. At the time, I was told to wait for further treatment until symptoms occurred, which was not an acceptable answer to me, so I started conducting my own research. I was fortunate enough to qualify for a clinical trial for Crizotinib, a targeted therapy drug. This treatment has improved my scans to the point that I now view my disease as chronic and manageable, rather than terminal. While I initially set a goal to live until age 40, I now feel like I am able to look much farther into my future.

When I think about the lack of funding and public awareness surrounding lung cancer, I believe that the stigma of the disease is probably one of the main factors. It seems like lung cancer is the ugly cousin; no one has any empathy when they think you deserve your disease. The truth is, no one deserves lung cancer whether they have smoked or not. We put a lot of attention on this ribbon or that “run” but ribbons and runs don’t matter when people are still dying. We need to do better. There have been breakthroughs in both treatment and diagnostics for lung cancer patients all courtesy of the hard work and dedication of physicians, researchers and clinicians. I can only imagine what could be achieved with adequate funding.

Read more about lung cancer in Canada:

Leveraging our connections with the NFL, its teams and players and our relationships with many of the top cancer centers in the country, we arranged to have lung cancer survivors attend games at NFL stadiums across the country during the last two months of the 2012-2013 season. By the time the initiative concluded at the ProBowl in Hawaii, more than 30 lung cancer survivors representing 30 cancer centers and nearly every NFL team had participated. Given the overwhelming success of our Survivor at EveryStadium initiative, we have expanded it beyond the NFL to the NBA, the NHL and MLS—and this year, London, UK! 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 Buffalo Bills, Lung Cancer Canada and our Team Draft’s supporters for helping make this experience possible.

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