Team Draft Marks Anniversary With Call To Action To Support National Campaign To Change The Face Of Lung Cancer
(Atlanta, GA) – Chris Draft faced some tough opponents during his 12 years in the NFL, but nothing could have prepared him for the news he and then girlfriend, Keasha, received when Keasha, a never-smoker, was diagnosed with lung cancer. Despite the diagnosis and knowing the long odds they faced, Chris and Keasha decided to fight back, and seven years ago today, on November 27, 2011, standing hand-in-hand, they launched Team Draft at their wedding. Keasha died a month later.
“On our wedding day, Keasha and I made two commitments: one to each other and one to the lung cancer community,” says Draft. “Keasha knew our second commitment couldn’t be accomplished without a team, so instead of gifts, she asked our family and friends to join the lung cancer fight by donating to our foundation,” Draft explains. Those donations became the seed money for Team Draft, and helped launch its National Campaign to Change the Face of Lung Cancer.
“Keasha’s story is tangible proof that anybody can get lung cancer; it’s not just a ‘smoker’s disease’,” says Draft. “If you believe that anybody can get lung cancer, then you have to be committed to everybody,” Draft explains. “Keasha knew that all too well, and she knew that our commitment to fight lung cancer had to be about more than just her; it had to be about the entire lung cancer community,” Draft says, adding that “for Keasha, the fight wasn’t about ‘me,’ it was about ‘we.’”
Since Chris and Keasha launched Team Draft on their wedding day in 2011, Team Draft has been on a mission to identify and support individuals, institutions and organizations who are willing to stand with Team Draft and fight—fight not only for themselves, but also for their communities. For Team Draft, it has always been about the “we” and not the “me”—just as Keasha intended.
Team Draft’s National Campaign has taken it to hundreds of the top cancer centers around the world in search of institutions willing to talk about the important research they are doing and about how that research is changing the lives of those battling lung cancer. Through its Survivor At Every Stadium initiative, Team Draft is identifying survivors who, like Keasha, are willing to stand up not only for themselves, but also for the millions of people living with lung cancer. Once Team Draft, working with likeminded cancer centers and organizations, identifies these “survivor-advocates,” Team Draft provides them with the opportunity to share their stories at hundreds NFL, NBA, MLS, NHL, and college football games, weaving a broader narrative about the true nature of lung cancer and the hope that now exists for other survivors.
Team Draft’s annual Lung Cancer Survivors Super Bowl Challenge brings it all together. This unique fund raising challenge gives lung cancer survivor-advocates the opportunity to compete against one another to raise funds for public awareness and cutting-edge research that is giving new hope to those battling this often misunderstood disease. The survivor-advocate whose team raises the most money will join Team Draft at the Super Bowl in Atlanta, Georgia. The runner-up will receive a trip to the 2018 Pro Bowl in Orlando. The third place finisher will join Team Draft at the 28th Annual Taste of the NFL—a strolling food and wine festival held in Atlanta the night before the big game where guests will savor dishes prepared by some of the top chefs in the country while rubbing shoulders with legendary players from all 32 NFL Teams.
In addition to raising critical public awareness, the Super Bowl Challenge also raises funds for lung cancer organizations and treatment centers across North America. Participating survivor-advocates who raise more than $5,000 during the Super Bowl Challenge may commit 80% of the funds they raised to a lung cancer organization or cancer center of their choice. While Team Draft hopes to have survivor-advocate for all 32 NFL cities participate in the challenge, the ultimate goal is for all NCI designated cancer centers to identify and support a survivor-advocate in the Challenge every year.
On this #GivingTuesday, Team Draft is marking its anniversary with a call to action. Team Draft is asking people to help it fulfill the commitment Chris and Keasha made on their wedding day by joining Team Draft’s Campaign by donating to the Chris Draft Family Foundation at www.chrisdraftfamilyfoundation.org or by supporting a participating survivor-advocate in the Super Bowl Challenge at https://www.crowdrise.com/o/en/campaign/2019superbowlchallenge.
“It takes at team to tackle cancer, and we need your help,” says Draft. Are you willing to stand up for your community?
About Team Draft
Team Draft is an initiative of the Chris Draft Family Foundation dedicated to increasing lung cancer awareness and research funding. To learn more or to donate, visit www.teamdraft.org.