Beverly, Mass. Lahey Hospital lung cancer survivor-advocate Jeremy Smallwood was the top fundraiser in Team Draft’s 2017 Lung Cancer Survivors Super Bowl Challenge. Jeremy and his wife, Amanda, traveled to Houston, Texas to represent Team Draft at Super Bowl LI and the 26th annual Taste of the NFL. Jeremy and Amanda watch their New England Patriots defeat the Atlanta Falcons in the first Super Bowl overtime game. The Patriots win, was their fifth Super Bowl Championship, and Tom Brady tied Joe Montana with his fourth Super Bowl MVP.
We are beyond excited to be going to the Super Bowl especially because it means that we raised so much money for a great cause (Tackling lung cancer) that is also so close to our hearts. And we had a ton of fun while doing it!!! ~ Jeremy and Amanda
Founded by Draft and his late wife Keasha, who died of lung cancer in 2011 at the age of 38, Team Draft is dedicated to raising lung cancer awareness and increasing badly needed research funding through its Campaign To Change The Face Of Lung Cancer, which is committed to shattering the misconception that lung cancer is a “smoker’s disease.” The centerpiece of Team Draft’s Campaign is its annual Lung Cancer Survivors Super Bowl Challenge.
The Super Bowl Challenge participants were part of a friendly competition, with the top fundraisers awarded trips to Super Bowl LI, the NFL Pro-Bowl and the Taste of the NFL. Jeremy and the other winners, announced on January 2, 2017, will have an opportunity to share their powerful stories with key individuals with influence from across the country.
As Draft explains, “the Super Bowl Challenge gives us 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. With the game as a backdrop, we can use 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.” And Team Draft’s efforts are paying off.
In addition to raising critical public awareness, the Super Bowl Challenge also raises funds for lung cancer organizations and treatment centers across North America. Last year, participants who raised more than $1,000 during the Super Bowl Challenge were able to commit 50% of the funds they raised to a lung cancer organization or cancer center of their choice.
Thanks to the overwhelming success of our annual Super Bowl Challenge, Team Draft is maintaining its commit to 50% if the survivors raise over $1,000, but if survivors raise over $5,000, their designated beneficiary will receive 80% with the remaining 20% going to support Team Draft’s mission to change the face of lung cancer.
My experience with cancer began 3 years ago. A bump developed on my head accompanied by headaches. After testing, it was found to be a tumor which metastasized from stage 4 lung cancer. It was quite a shock. The immediate thought that came to mind was the classic view of cancer and its treatment, a short life of chemotherapy and radiation. Thankfully through the hardwork and donations to help fund improvements in treatment, there have been so many advances. Now the doctors develop an individual treatment program for you, through various tests a profile is created to find ways to target your particular affliction resulting in a greater likelihood of successful outcomes and in a better quality of life for the patient. There is also a focus on diet and mental health which keeps your system firing on all cylinders. I am thankful for all the great doctors, nurses, technicians, and volunteers that have been there for us through it all. The kindness and caring shown to my wife and I by Lahey Hospital has been remarkable. With their constant support through these trying times, it has enabled us to endure. It has allowed me to lead an almost normal life, to enjoy the time I have left with the ones I love, also enabling me to think past tomorrow, to dream of future things to come. Providing me with opportunities such as this foundation, help this great foundation raise funds for this necessary research. It would be so amazing if I get a once in a lifetime chance of going to the Super Bowl. To make it even more special, the Super Bowl will take place in the state where I grew up, and it would be the first time I make it back in about 30 years.
About the Super Bowl LI
Super Bowl LI will be the 51st Super Bowl and the 47th modern-era National Football League (NFL) championship game. The American Football Conference (AFC) champion will play the National Football Conference (NFC) champion to decide the league champion for the 2016 season. The event will mark the 50th anniversary year of the first Super Bowl, which was played on January 15, 1967.
Super Bowl LI is scheduled for Sunday, February 5, 2017, at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas, and will be the third time the Super Bowl has been played in Houston, after Super Bowl VIII in 1974 and Super Bowl XXXVIII in 2004. It will be televised nationally in the United States by Fox and Fox Deportes.
About the Taste of the NFL
Since 1992, the Taste of the NFL (a 501c3 organization) has rallied the country’s top chefs and the NFL’s greatest players to raise money in support of food banks throughout the United States.
This is done through via three avenues:
• on-line donations during the KICK HUNGER CHALLENGE® (September – January)
• locally hosted Taste Of The NFL events by an NFL team and their food bank featuring their players and local chefs
• The Super Bowl Taste Of The NFL – The Party with a Purpose®. Held on the eve of Super Bowl in the host city. This event is a unique way to experience exceptional cuisine, meet NFL players and coaches, and support our fight against hunger.
Through the efforts of hundreds of volunteers who help make “Taste of the NFL – Party With A Purpose” the single most successful charitable event at the Super Bowl, the Taste of the NFL organization continues to help feed the 37 million Americans who have turned to their local food banks for assistance. Millions of needs, thousands of families and dozens of new hunger projects have been affected by this major volunteer effort. Our goal: end hunger.