Rochester, MN. Our co-founder, Chris Draft, traveled to Rochester, MN to congratulate Mayo Clinic lung cancer survivor Linda Wortman on her fundraising efforts in Team Draft’s 2018 Lung Cancer Survivors Super Bowl Challenge that earned her a trip to the Taste of the NFL and Super Bowl 52. Linda’s efforts were celebrated at a reception hosted by The Mayo Clinic Thoracic Team at Dooley’s Pub in Rochester, MN.
This is a dream come true. For the past 10 years, it has been my goal to raise awareness of lung cancer. And now, by winning the Team Draft Lung Cancer Survivors Super Bowl Challenge, I feel it is possible!! We can provide much needed money for lung cancer research at Mayo Clinic and save more lungs and more lives! ~Linda Wortman
Here’s Linda’s story, in her own words: “In 2008, I received a phone call that changed the course of my life. For 35 years, I worked as a flight attendant. I was preparing to depart from Minneapolis for Amsterdam when my physician, whom I had seen just 2 days before for my annual physical, called and requested that I return to Mayo Clinic immediately because of something he saw on my CT scan.
So I returned to Mayo. Sitting in his office looking at x-ray images of my lungs, time froze as my physician said, ‘You have lung cancer.’ I snapped at him: “Doctor, you have the wrong person! I have never smoked!” That was the day I realized anyone with lungs can get lung cancer.”
After successful surgery at Mayo Clinic, and with the support of her loving husband, Jerry, Linda battled through, and is now on a mission to break the stereotype that lung cancer is only for smokers. Linda set a goal to raise awareness about lung cancer and to share with people around the world that there is quality of life after a cancer diagnosis. Since 2012, and with most of her left lung missing, Linda completed a 5K race in all 50 states, a 10K race on four continents, and in August of 2016, she climbed to the summit of Kilimanjaro, the largest mountain in Africa, and the fourth tallest peak in the world.
In 2014, Linda and Jerry co-founded the non-profit organization Wortman Lung Cancer Foundation. Through this foundation, the Wortmans host Running Lungs Run/Walk events and the #First2Burst Lung Challenge to raise desperately-needed funds for lung cancer research.
Linda has always been an example of her favorite saying, “If you can imagine it, you can achieve it; if you can dream it, you can become it.” Linda dreamed of being one of Team Draft’s 2018 Lung Cancer Survivor Super Bowl Challenge winners and now she is. This will enable her to continue spreading her positive message and raising funds to save lungs and lives through research.
January 11, 2018 marks the 10-year anniversary of my lung cancer surgery and of being a survivor. I am honored to be a 2018 Super Bowl Challenge winner and I want to be a strong advocate and positive presence representing all survivors throughout the remaining weeks of the Challenge. I’m looking forward to participating in a number of events during Super Bowl week, especially the Team Draft Family Foundation Survivors’ dinner. Please join me and survivors from around Minnesota as we band together to blow lung cancer away!! ~ Linda