Atlanta, GA. Emory University Winship Cancer Institute, lung cancer survivor-advocates Delene Kepler and Micheal Blonder represented Team Draft at the Georgia Dome on Sunday. The survivors kicked off the NFL season by watching Atlanta Falcons take on the Tampa Bay Bucs.
The survivors were able to meet two other lung cancer survivors at the game, Kristen Carlton and Ellis Lanham.
Dr. Rams office called me yesterday and told me about the first Falcons game and I am so delighted to be a part of something much bigger than a game. I am celebrating 3 years with stage 4 lung cancer. ~ Delene
Delene will be joined by her husband Rick and Michael will be taking his son, Zack, to the game.
“Lung Cancer; Suzanne and my mother Lois, went on a mission to find the best treatment available. The pathology report I had non -small cell cancer with an egfr mutation, there happened to be trial at Emory I qualified for, and have been a participant for the last 17 months. I take oral chemo each morning.
In summary, what I have experienced is more than a journey. It was about never giving up, the financial issues took a back seat, I did everything the Doctors recommended, and just kept fighting, never giving up. Today, I’m doing great due to my families love and support. I am a better person.
At the end of the day this is me fighting the battle of my life, I have learned to rely on myself, only the individual in the fight knows how they feel. It’s the support from all the fine doctors and their staff’s, researchers, scientist, and to all of those people that smile at you and treat you with kindness and respect.” ~ Michael B.
Team Draft’s goals are to create a unique experience for participating survivors and to raise awareness on a local, national, and international level by using each game and each survivor’s story to weave a broader narrative about the state of cancer and the hope that now exists for those battling the disease.
Special thanks to the Atlanta Falcons, Emory Winship Cancer Institute, Dr. Suresh Ramalingam, Dr. Wally Curran and all of our Team Draft supporters for helping make this event possible.