“Going to the Pro Bowl was a dream come true. This time last year I was fighting for my life with the stage IV lung cancer diagnosis. We have incredible support from my friends, family, my church, support groups, and cutting-edge treatment from St. Francis Cancer Center. I’ve learned through my cancer experience and support from Team Draft ‘anything is possible and to never give up!”, said Powell.
Dan Powell was 35 when he was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer. A non-smoker, Powell is well aware of the role air quality plays in lung health- he has served as Director of Air Quality for Greenville County, South Carolina. Powell won the trip to the Pro Bowl in Team Draft’s Super Bowl Challenge–a friendly competition between lung cancer survivors to raise funds and awareness for lung cancer research and treatment.
Dan’s guest at the Pro Bowl was his friend Rick Owens who was diagnosed with lung cancer in October of last year.
“It was an honor to go with my good friend Dan Powell to the 2015 NFL Pro bowl in Arizona. We were very excited, to meet all of the incredible NFL athletes and listen to their stories. We were also excited to share our lung cancer survivor stories with them.”
Rick shares another bond with the Team Draft lung cancer awareness project unfolding in Arizona–he works for Clemson University, the alma mater of both Keasha Draft and Levon Kirkland.
Kirkland, an All-Pro linebacker who spent ten seasons in the NFL playing for the Pittsburgh Steelers, Seattle Seahawks, and Philadelphia Eagles, joined Chris Draft and Team Draft in hosting lung cancer survivors Dan Powell and Rick Owens at the Pro Bowl.
Draft and Kirkland have much more than their NFL careers in common. They both married dynamic, outgoing women named Keasha who lost their lives to lung cancer at an early age. Neither Keasha Draft nor Keisha Kirkland smoked, and like thousands of other lung cancer survivors, they were stunned by their diagnoses. Before they passed away, both women dedicated themselves to changing the face of lung cancer and educating people about the true nature of the disease–a disease that is too often mischaracterized as a “smoker’s disease”. Their legacies live, with their husbands continuing their fight.