Oakland, CA. Kaiser Health lung cancer survivor-advocate Don Stranathan and UC Davis Health lung cancer survivor-advocate Natalie Gibson represented Team Draft at the O.co Coliseum on Sunday. The survivors watched the Oakland Raiders lose a close game to the Atlanta Falcons. #RaiderNation #Tacklinglungcancer #LCAM
The bad news is that I have cancer. The good news is that cancer has taught me to live life to the fullest. I never allow cancer to define me. I rarely miss an opportunity to hike, bike, or do anything that strengthens my immune system and keeps me out in nature.
In October 2011 I met Penny Blume, the love of my life, on a lung cancer support community on Inspire. Penny left this earth on Jan. 21, 2014 after battling small cell lung cancer for 32 months. Penny and I spent our time together traveling back and forth from New York to California. She passed at my home in Santa Rosa, Calif., after trying one last clinical trial at Stanford Cancer Center.
Penny and I turned to each other for emotional support to battle our cancers and fell in love. It was after a couple of months of texting and chatting on social media that we decided to meet. Penny flew to California for her first visit in January 2012, and the rest is history.
My relationship with Penny also marked the beginning of my advocacy work for lung cancer. It started when a friend of ours asked us to post our story on a lung cancer survivors group on Facebook. I posted something, and then Penny and I decided to repost it on Inspire, since it was the site that brought us together. In September 2012 our story was shared by ABC News and Good Morning America. In the following weeks, it was shared and tweeted all over the world…
My last promises to Penny were that I would continue to live life to the fullest and advocate for lung cancer research and awareness. One day at a time I try to keep those promises to her.
In 2012, we, Team Draft, launched our inaugural Survivor at Every Stadium 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.
Leveraging our connections with the NFL, its teams and players and our relationships with many of the top cancer centers in the country, As part of our National Campaign, this celebration of survivorship raises lung cancer awareness, gives hope to those battling the disease, and shines 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.