New York, NY. A select group of lung cancer Survivors, Caregivers, Doctors and Health Professionals represented Team Draft at the NFL Headquarters on Monday afternoon. The luncheon, hosted by the NFL Legends Community and CDFF, allowed the group to share their individuals stories, discuss the state of lung cancer and learn more about the NFL’s Crucial Catch Initiative. #TEAM #Tacklinglungcancer #LCSM
Team Draft is an initiative of the Chris Draft Family Foundation created by nationally recognized health advocate and former NFL linebacker, Chris Draft, and his late wife, Keasha, during Keasha’s year-long struggle with lung cancer. Their hope was that Keasha’s valiant fight to dance, smile and live would give hope, comfort and inspiration to the patients, caregivers and healthcare providers who are battling the disease every day.
While attending Clemson University, Keasha was a member of the Rally Cat’s dance squad before graduating with a degree in Electrical Engineering. After graduation, Keasha worked as an engineer while dancing for the NBA’s Charlotte Hornets before working in the pharmaceutical industry. She was an energetic, vibrant young woman who had never smoked when she was diagnosed with Stage IV Lung Cancer in December 2010. At the time, her only “symptom” was a slight shortness of breath a few days earlier. Despite the diagnosis and knowing the long odds they faced, Keasha and Chris decided to fight back. On November 27, 2011, standing side-by-side, they launched Team Draft at their wedding. One month later, Keasha lost her courageous fight and died at the age of 38.
Team Draft is dedicated to raising lung cancer awareness and increasing badly needed research funding by shattering the misconception that lung cancer is a “smoker’s disease.” The fact is anybody can get lung cancer. Yet, despite the fact that between 20,000 and 30,000 people who have never smoked—including Keasha—are diagnosed with lung cancer in the United States each year, the smoking stigma negatively impacts lung cancer research funding, which pales in comparison to funding for other major cancers and diseases. Team Draft is out to change all that by using the unique platform available to Chris as a former NFL player and nationally recognized community leader and health advocate to lead a National Campaign to Change the Face of Lung Cancer—a campaign that has taken us to more than 130 of the top cancer treatment and research centers in the United States and Canada.
Special thanks to the NFL Legends community, Kiyanna Brown, and Tracey Pearlman for making this opportunity possible.