Team Draft Marks Anniversary With Call To Action To Support Annual Lung Cancer Survivors Super Bowl Challenge
(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 made a choice to fight back and 8 years ago today, on November 27, 2011, standing hand-in-hand, they launched Team Draft at their wedding. Keasha died a month later.
“When Keasha was diagnosed, she knew she had two choices: she could give up and except death or she could live each day to the fullest,” says Draft. “Keasha was fighter, so she chose to give it everything she’s got,” he says.
“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, like Keasha, make the choice to give it everything they have got to fight lung cancer—individuals and organizations who are willing to stand with Team Draft and 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 lives. Through its Survivor At Every Stadium initiative, Team Draft is identifying survivors who, like Keasha, choose to stand up not only for themselves, but also for the millions of people living (or will be diagnosed) 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 NFL, NBA, MLS, NHL, and college football games, using Team Draft’s unique platform to weave a broader narrative about the true nature of lung cancer and the hope that now exists for survivors.
Team Draft’s annual Lung Cancer Survivors Super Bowl Challenge brings it all together. This one-of-a-kind fund raising challenge gives lung cancer survivor-advocates the opportunity to compete to raise funds for public awareness and cutting-edge research. The survivor-advocate whose team raises the most money will join Team Draft at the Super Bowl in Miami. The runner-up will receive a trip to the 2019 Pro Bowl. The third place finisher will join Team Draft at the 29th Annual Taste of the NFL—a food and wine festival held in Miami 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. And because Team Draft’s National Campaign has always been about “we” and not “me,” participating survivor-advocates who raise more than $5,000 during the Super Bowl Challenge may commit 90% of the funds they raised to a lung cancer organization or cancer center of their choice with the remaining 10% going to support Team Draft and its mission. While Team Draft hopes to have survivor-advocates from all 32 NFL cities participate in the challenge, the ultimate goal is for all NCI designated cancer centers and lung cancer organizations, regardless of location, to identify and support a survivor-advocate in the Challenge every year.
To that end, Team Draft is marking its anniversary with a call to action. “We know that the key to winning this fight is for cancer centers and lung cancer organizations to identify and support their survivor-advocates,” Draft explains. “We are challenging all cancer centers and organizations to help fulfill the commitment Keasha and I made on our wedding day by choosing to identify and support survivor-advocates who are willing to share their stories and talk about the great work these organizations are doing to fight lung cancer,” he says.
Team Draft is also challenging individuals to make the choice to help fulfill Chris and Keasha’s commitment by joining Team Draft’s Campaign and donating to the Chris Draft Family Foundation at www.chrisdraftfamilyfoundation.org or supporting a participating survivor-advocate in the Super Bowl Challenge at https://www.crowdrise.com/o/en/campaign/2020-lung-cancer-survivors-super-bowl-challenge.
“This is a fight we can win, but it takes at team to tackle cancer, and we need your help,” Draft adds. Will you choose 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.