Charlotte, NC. US Army Green Beret and lung cancer survivor Richard Stayskal and his family represented Team Draft at Bank of America Stadium on Monday Night. The Stayskals watched the Carolina Panthers take on the New Orleans with Team Draft co-founder, and former Carolina Panther, Chris Draft.
Sgt. 1st Class Richard Stayskal was deployed to Ramadi, Iraq, in 2004 when he was shot by a sniper. The round, which he kept as a souvenir, pierced his left lung and nearly killed him.
The round is “a reminder of how fragile life is,” he told Charlotte’s Fox 46. “Something could change everything in an instant.”
Despite beating the odds of such a grievous wound in combat, something else did change in an instant for the 37-year-old Green Beret when, following a June 2017 visit to a civilian doctor to address severe breathing issues the Army told him was a simple case of pneumonia, he received terrible news.
“Did a biopsy and when I woke up my wife was crying,” Stayskal told Fox 46. “And he [the doctor] was telling her that I had cancer.”
The tumor in Stayskal’s lungs had been egregiously misdiagnosed by Army doctors, the report said, allowing it to double in size and spread to other vital organs — and into stage four terminal lung cancer.
Now, the father of two daughters, ages 9 and 11, said doctors have given him a life expectancy of at least a year.
In 2012, we launched our inaugural Team Draft Survivor Series initiative on CNN during a nationally-televised prime time special focusing on lung cancer and our National Campaign to Change the Face of Lung Cancer. Our Survivor at Every Stadium, leverages our connections with the NFL, its teams and players with our relationships with many of the top cancer centers in the country. As a part of our International Campaign, the games allow us to celebrate our survivors, raise awareness, and give hope to those battling the disease, as well as shine a light on the important work being done at cancer research and treatment centers around the country.
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.
Team Draft’s fifth annual Lung Cancer Survivors Super Bowl Challenge kicked off on November 1, 2018. This unique fund raising challenge gives lung cancer survivors the opportunity to raise funds for public awareness and cutting-edge research that is giving new hope to those battling this often misunderstood disease. The top three fundraisers, announced on December 31, 2018, will earn trips to Super Bowl 53 in Atlanta, GA, the 2019 NFL Pro Bowl in Orlando, FL and the Taste of the NFL in Atlanta, GA. The survivors have an opportunity to share their powerful stories with key individuals with influence from across the country. #RepYourCity #RepYourCancerCenter #RepYourLCOrganization
**The lung cancer survivors that raise over $5,000 will be able to designated a beneficiary (Cancer Center or LC Organization) that will receive 80% of their raised funds (-fees) and the remaining 20% will support Team Draft’s mission to change the face of lung cancer.
Special thanks to the Carolina Panthers, Riley Fields, the NFL Commissioner, the NFL and all of our Team Draft supporters for helping make this event possible.