Awareness • Early Detection • Treatment • Research • Survivorship

Former NFL Player Chris Draft to Join Hundreds of Cancer Advocates in Solemn Ceremony on National Mall

Former NFL Player Chris Draft to Join Hundreds of Cancer Advocates in Solemn Ceremony on National Mall


More Than 750 Patients, Survivors Urging Congress to Make Cancer A Priority


WASHINGTON, DC – Former National Football League player Chris Draft will join more than 750 cancer patients, survivors and their loved ones from all 50 states and nearly every congressional district Sept. 29 in an emotional evening ceremony near the Capitol Reflecting Pool to honor people battling cancer, remember those who lost their lives to cancer and call on Congress to prioritize the fight against a disease that will kill an estimated 589,000 people in America this year.


The “Lights of HOPE” ceremony, which is part of the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) Leadership Summit and Lobby Day, will feature more than 20,000 lights in decorated bags circling the reflecting pool and spelling the words “HOPE” and “CURE” on nearby steps, with the U.S. Capitol as a stunning backdrop. The bags will include handwritten messages to family members and friends who have battled cancer.


Draft was an NFL linebacker for 13 seasons, playing for the Chicago Bears, San Francisco 49ers, Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, St. Louis Rams and Buffalo Bills. He was also a caregiver to his wife, Keasha, who lost her battle to lung cancer just a month after their wedding in 2011. The ceremony is part of the #OneDegree campaign, which ACS CAN launched with Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C) earlier this year to underscore the fact that we all know someone with cancer – a relative, a friend, a co-worker – and many of us have faced the disease ourselves. Draft and his late wife founded Team Draft in 2011 to raise lung cancer awareness and to help survivors and caregivers become advocates.


Advocates will share thousands of photos and reflections of the ceremony on social media with the hashtag #LightsofHope – a call to action reaching communities nationwide to join the fight to defeat cancer.


The ACS CAN Lights of HOPE ceremony is presented by Celgene.


WHAT: “Lights of HOPE” Ceremony featuring nearly 20,000 lighted bags honoring cancer survivors and remembering loved ones who lost their cancer battle


WHO: Former NFL Player Chris Draft

More than 750 cancer patients, survivors, and caregivers participating in the ACS CAN Leadership Summit & Lobby Day to urge Congress to make the cancer fight a national priority


WHEN: Tuesday evening, Sept. 29 – Speaking program begins at 8:00 p.m.


WHERE: U.S. Capitol Reflecting Pool, Union Square


FOR MORE INFO: Contact Steve Weiss (202-607-0911; or Alissa Crispino (240-498-7233 or


ACS CAN, the nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy affiliate of the American Cancer Society, supports evidence-based policy and legislative solutions designed to eliminate cancer as a major health problem.  ACS CAN works to encourage elected officials and candidates to make cancer a top national priority. ACS CAN gives ordinary people extraordinary power to fight cancer with the training and tools they need to make their voices heard. For more information, visit