Awareness • Early Detection • Treatment • Research • Survivorship

Former Panther Tackles Lung Cancer In Charlotte

teamdraft-25For Immediate Release
November 20, 2013
Contact: Randall Hawkins,

Former Panther Tackles Lung Cancer In Charlotte
(Charlotte, NC) – This week, Team Draft and its co-founder former Carolina Panthers linebacker, Chris Draft, are bringing Team Draft’s National Campaign to Change the Face of Lung Cancer back to Charlotte. As part of the Campaign, Team Draft will be joined by area lung cancer survivors and their supports at Bank of America Stadium as the Carolina Panthers take on the New England Patriots on Monday Night Football and at Time Warner Arena for the Charlotte Bobcats’ match up against the Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday night. Team Draft will also be on hand as the Duke Energy Building is lit in white in honor of Lung Cancer Awareness Month.

“Charlotte holds a special place in my heart,” says Draft, who lost his wife, Keasha—a former Charlotte Hornets Honeybee Dancer, electrical engineer, and long-time Charlotte resident—to lung cancer in December 2011. “This is where Keasha and I first met and fell in love,” explains Draft. “That is why I am particularly proud and thankful that the Panthers and the Bobcats are joining Team Draft in our fight to tackle lung cancer,” he continues.

This week’s games are just the latest in Team Draft’s Survivor Series. Working with teams throughout the NFL, NBA, NHL, and NCAA, Team Draft is leading this national effort to have lung cancer survivors, researchers and doctors attend games across the country. As part of Team Draft’s National Campaign to Change the Face of Lung Cancer, the Survivor Series is designed not only to create a unique experience for participating survivors, but perhaps more importantly, to raise awareness on a local and national level by using each game and each survivor’s story to weave a broader narrative about the state of lung cancer and the hope that now exists for those battling the disease.

On Thursday, November 21, the Survivor Series heads to Atlanta where Team Draft and lung cancer survivors from two of Atlanta’s premier cancer treatment centers will be on hand as the Falcons take on NFC South rivals, the New Orleans Saints.

Team Draft, an initiative of the Chris Draft Family Foundation, 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. “If we can take away the stigma that says you have to be a smoker to get lung cancer, we have a real chance to educate people about the true nature of the disease,” explains Draft.

Since Chris and Keasha launched Team Draft at their wedding in November of 2011, Team Draft has been on a mission to tackle cancer. “Our hope is not only to positively impact research funding, but to improve the quality of life for those affected by lung cancer,” says Draft. “We aren’t fighting against lung cancer, we’re fighting for people. That’s why we are leading this national campaign to change the face of lung cancer.”

The Facts About Lung Cancer

For decades, the facts regarding lung cancer have been sobering:

• Anyone can get lung cancer.
• Over 60% of lung cancers are diagnosed in people who never smoked or in former smokers.
• Lung cancer surpassed breast cancer as the #1 cancer killer for women in 1987.
• Lung cancer kills more people than any other cancer , and takes more lives than breast, cervical, and prostate cancers . . . combined.
• The five year survival rate for lung cancer is just 17%—a rate that has changed very little since the 1970’s.

But now there is HOPE! The use of state-of-the-art lung cancer screening techniques is reducing mortality rates by 20% in some patient groups while cutting-edge team-based, multidisciplinary treatment procedures are improving the quality of life for lung cancer patients across the country. And thanks to advances in molecular tumor mutation testing, researchers and treating physicians are developing effective personal lung cancer treatments designed to extent and, ultimately, save lives. The key to making even greater strides is funding, but funding for lung cancer research is impacted by the “smoker’s disease” stigma. That’s why Team Draft is campaigning to change the face of lung cancer.

About The Chris Draft Family Foundation and Team Draft

The Chris Draft Family Foundation is a 501(c) (3) non-profit corporation dedicated to strengthening communities by empowering families to live healthy lifestyles. The Foundation focuses on several initiatives with overarching themes that stress the importance of education, healthy lifestyles, character development, personal responsibility, self-discipline, and physical fitness. To learn more about the Foundation, please visit