Awareness • Early Detection • Treatment • Research • Survivorship

Former Rams player shares personal connection to lung cancer

Former St. Louis Rams linebacker Chris Draft was in town March 28 to promote his foundation and bring attention to the men and women of SSM Cancer Care who work toward improving the quality of life for lung cancer patients.

Draft visited SSM St. Joseph Medical Park in St. Peters to share his personal story of how he has been affected by lung cancer. The disease claimed the life of his wife, Keasha, in December 2011 just one month after their wedding day. She was a non-smoker.

Inspired by the spirit of his late wife, Draft continues putting the spotlight on lung cancer in an effort to raise awareness and highlight the great work being done by local medical professionals. He discussed the subject with Radiation Oncologist Thomas Chung, M.D., and Cardiothoracic Surgeon Stephen D’Orazio, M.D., to get their perspective on the disease and how those at risk can protect themselves.

SSM Health Care offers a preventative lung cancer screening available to the public known as I-ELCAP. Its mission is to provide early diagnosis, treatment, and ultimately a cure for lung cancer.

Cutline information:

(1) Former St. Louis Rams player Chris Draft visited SSM St. Joseph Medical Park on March 28 to discuss lung cancer. Pictured (from left) are Julia Spurgetis, Stephen D’Orazio, M.D., Ellen Brennan, Susan Hamlin, Chris Draft, Debbie Solom, Mary Mace, Lucie Chartrand, Thomas Chung, M.D., and Vicki Frigerio.

(2) Chris Draft discusses lung cancer with employees of SSM St. Joseph Medical Park.

(3) Stephen D’Orazio, M.D., cardiothoracic surgeon, shares a medical perspective about lung cancer with former St. Louis Rams player Chris Draft.

About SSM Cancer Care
A service of SSM Health Care – St. Louis, SSM Cancer Care is a dedicated “cancer hospital” ― not restricted to a single site, but to six SSM hospital locations across St. Louis and St. Charles counties. Each location offers patient-focused diagnosis, consultation and treatment, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, support services (nutrition counseling, social services and physical therapy), early detection screenings and support groups. SSM Cancer Care is accredited by the Commission on Cancer of the American College of Surgeons as offering a comprehensive program designed to treat the entire person ―physically, emotionally and spiritually ― as well as the needs of patients’ families. For more information, go to

About ‘Team Draft’
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 90 of the top cancer treatment and research centers in the United States and Canada.