Awareness • Early Detection • Treatment • Research • Survivorship

A Survivor At Every Stadium: Seattle Seahawks

Seattle, WA. Former NFL linebacker Chris Draft has traveled the country, to challenge local residents to help send one of their lung cancer survivors to the Super Bowl. On Sunday, lung cancer survivors Kim Wieneke and Jessica Steinberg will represent Team Draft at the Seattle Seahawks game against the St. Louis Rams. The survivors will be on the field at the beginning during pregame warmups.

According to Kim’s blog: Kim Wieneke, living in Portland, Oregon.  I’ve got lung cancer and I’m not very happy about it.  It pretty much sucks.

At age 34, I was diagnosed with Stage 3b lung cancer on May 11, 2011.  On September 14, 2011 I learned that my cancer spread.  It is now considered incurable.

Each day, I get better at “living with a terminal illness”.  I don’t have it mastered; I certainly don’t I have all the right answers.  What I do have and openly share, in my writing, are my experiences and how they impact me.

Team Draft’s Super Bowl Challenge gives lung cancer survivors, throughout North America, the opportunity to compete against one another to raise funds in support of our National Campaign to Change the Face of Lung Cancer–a campaign dedicated to raising public awareness about the true nature of the disease and shattering the misconception that lung cancer is just a “smoker’s disease.”

Jessica Steinberg doesn’t like the stereotypes that surround lung cancer patients. You know, the ones that say they’re all smokers, who did it to themselves, and who likely won’t live long past their diagnoses….

The lung cancer survivor, whose Team raises the most money by January 1, 2015, will represent Team Draft in Arizona during Super Bowl week. The winner will receive airfare for 2 and hotel accommodations for 4 nights. OnJanuary 31, 2015 the winner and a guest will have an opportunity to meet legendary players from all 32 NFL teams, including several Hall of Famers, while enjoying dishes prepared by some of the best chefs in the country when they join Team Draft at the 24th annual Taste of the NFL.

In December 2010, Keasha Rutledge Draft was diagnosed with Stage IV lung cancer when she went to her doctor after feeling a slight shortness of breath a few days earlier. As a former Charlotte Hornets Honeybee dancer and member of Clemson University’s Rally Cat dance squad, Keasha was an energetic, vibrant young woman who never smoked and was the picture of health at the time of her diagnosis. Despite the diagnosis and knowing the long odds they faced, Keasha and her husband, former NFL linebacker, Chris Draft decided to fight back. On November 27, 2011, standing side-by-side, they launched Team Draft together at their wedding. One month later, Keasha lost her courageous fight. (

Over the last three years, the Chris Draft Family Foundation has been leading a national campaign to change the face of lung cancer. Our signature Survivor Series is the centerpiece of that Campaign.  While the Survivor Series has become a powerful tool in the fight to raise lung cancer awareness, this year we are taking  that initiative to the next level by creating a funding challenge centered on the biggest event in sports—the Super Bowl.

The Survivor Series is an outgrowth of our Survivor at Every Stadium initiative, which we debuted in November 2012 on CNN during a nationally-televised prime time special focusing on lung cancer and our National Campaign.  Leveraging our unique connections with the NFL, its teams and players, and many of the top cancer centers in the country, we arranged for lung cancer survivors to attend games at NFL stadiums across the country during the last two months of the 2012-2013 season.  The initiative proved to be an immediate and overwhelming success.  By the time this first “national celebration of survivorship” concluded at the Pro Bowl in Hawaii, survivors from 30 different cancer centers and nearly every NFL team had participated.

Given the success of our inaugural Survivor at Every Stadium program, in its second year, we expanded the initiative to create the Survivor Series by branching out beyond the NFL to the NBA and NHL, among others.  We also enhanced the Survivor at Every Stadium initiative by adding the NFL’s International Series in London, specially designated lung cancer awareness games at home, and a national media tour, which resulted in more than 35 national and local media placements, reaching more than 13 million people.

The goal of the Survivor Series is not only to create a unique experience for participating survivors, but to raise awareness on a local and national level by using each game and each survivor’s story to weave a broader narrative about the state of lung cancer and the hope that now exists for those battling the disease thanks to new detection techniques and innovative treatments. This year, we have increased our ability to achieve those goals by adding the Super Bowl Challenge, which builds on the success of the Survivor Series by using the games at the heart of that initiative to create buzz for the Challenge. (

The survivors and physicians battling lung cancer face a unique challenge due in large part to the fact that “lung cancer carries a stigma almost unheard of with any other deadly disease, hindering the unconditional support and investment of resources afforded to patients with other serious conditions.” This stigma is the result of the widely held belief that lung cancer is a “smoker’s disease”—a misconception that “researchers and advocates agree . . . contributes to the underfunding of research on the disease.”  Team Draft’s Super Bowl Challenge is designed to address the research funding gap and “smoker’s disease” stigma by attacking the underlying problem of a lack of public awareness about lung cancer.

The Super Bowl Challenge presents a unique opportunity to use the overwhelming media coverage surrounding the Super Bowl as a platform to raise critical public awareness about lung cancer on an international level.  A comprehensive public relations and media campaign using the game as a backdrop will allow us to talk about the true nature and state of lung cancer in a context in which such subjects are not ordinarily discussed and in front of a broad and varied audience that might not otherwise be exposed to stories about lung cancer or the important work being done in research facilities and cancer centers across the country to fight the disease.

It takes a team to tackle cancer, and we are pleased to invite you to join Team Draft in our fight to raise lung cancer awareness by taking part in this exclusive fundraising challenge!

Donate now to a Lung Cancer Survivor’s Team or donate directly to the Chris Draft Family Foundation to support our National Campaign to Change the Face of Lung Cancer.