Super Bowl Challenge 2016
Team Draft’s 2016 Lung Cancer Survivors Super Bowl Challenge winners were announced on January 4, 2016. The Challenge participants were a part of a friendly competition, with the top fundraisers awarded trips to Super Bowl 50, the NFL Pro-Bowl and the Taste of the NFL. The winners, Kimberly Ringen, Kathy Weber, and Elizabeth Dessureault had an opportunity, to share their powerful stories with key individuals with influence from across the country.
The Super Bowl Challenge presents a unique opportunity to use the overwhelming media coverage surrounding the Super Bowl as a platform to raise critical public awareness about lung cancer on an international level. A comprehensive public relations and media campaign using the game as a backdrop allows us to talk about the true nature and state of lung cancer in a context in which such subjects are not ordinarily discussed and in front of a broad and varied audience that might not otherwise be exposed to stories about lung cancer or the important work being done in research facilities and cancer centers across the country to fight the disease.
Kimberly Ringen attended the Taste of the NFL, on February 6, 2016 and Super Bowl 50, on February 7, 2016 at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, CA.
Kathy Weber attended the 2015 Pro Bowl on January 31, 2016 in Honolulu, HI.
Elizabeth Dessureault attended the 25th Taste of the NFL on February 6, 2016 at San Francisco’s Cow Palace.
The 2016 winners, and the other Challenge participants that raised over $1,000, by February 7, 2016, were able to designate a beneficiary for 50% of their funds raised.
Kimberly Ringen – Lung Cancer Colorado Fund
Elizabeth Dessureault – Lung Cancer Canada
Jill Feldman – Rush University Cancer Center
Dan Powell’s Warriors – Live Lung Support Group in Greenville, South Carolina
In December 2010, Keasha Rutledge Draft was diagnosed with Stage IV lung cancer when she went to her doctor after feeling a slight shortness of breath a few days earlier. As a former Charlotte Hornets Honeybee dancer and member of Clemson University’s Rally Cat dance squad, Keasha was an energetic, vibrant young woman who never smoked and was the picture of health at the time of her diagnosis. Despite the diagnosis and knowing the long odds they faced, Keasha and her husband, former NFL linebacker, Chris Draft decided to fight back. On November 27, 2011, standing side-by-side, they launched Team Draft together at their wedding. One month later, Keasha lost her courageous fight. (https://vimeo.com/37410459)
Over the last three years, the Chris Draft Family Foundation has been leading a national campaign to change the face of lung cancer. Our signature Survivor Series is the centerpiece of that Campaign. While the Survivor Series has become a powerful tool in the fight to raise lung cancer awareness, this year we are taking that initiative to the next level by creating a funding challenge centered on the biggest event in sports—the Super Bowl.
The Survivor Series is an outgrowth of our Survivor at Every Stadium initiative, which we debuted in November 2012 on CNN during a nationally-televised prime time special focusing on lung cancer and our National Campaign. Leveraging our unique connections with the NFL, its teams and players, and many of the top cancer centers in the country, we arranged for lung cancer survivors to attend games at NFL stadiums across the country during the last two months of the 2012-2013 season. The initiative proved to be an immediate and overwhelming success. By the time this first “national celebration of survivorship” concluded at the Pro Bowl in Hawaii, survivors from 30 different cancer centers and nearly every NFL team had participated.
Given the success of our inaugural Survivor at Every Stadium program, in its second year, we expanded the initiative to create the Survivor Series by branching out beyond the NFL to the NBA and NHL, among others. We also enhanced the Survivor at Every Stadium initiative by adding the NFL’s International Series in London, specially designated lung cancer awareness games at home, and a national media tour, which resulted in more than 35 national and local media placements, reaching more than 13 million people.
The goal of the Survivor Series is not only to create a unique experience for participating survivors, but 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 thanks to new detection techniques and innovative treatments. This year, we have increased our ability to achieve those goals by adding the Super Bowl Challenge, which builds on the success of the Survivor Series by using the games at the heart of that initiative to create buzz for the Challenge. (https://vimeo.com/68178658)
The survivors and physicians battling lung cancer face a unique challenge due in large part to the fact that “lung cancer carries a stigma almost unheard of with any other deadly disease, hindering the unconditional support and investment of resources afforded to patients with other serious conditions.” This stigma is the result of the widely held belief that lung cancer is a “smoker’s disease”—a misconception that “researchers and advocates agree . . . contributes to the underfunding of research on the disease.” Team Draft’s Super Bowl Challenge is designed to address the research funding gap and “smoker’s disease” stigma by attacking the underlying problem of a lack of public awareness about lung cancer.
It takes a team to tackle cancer, and we are pleased to invite you to join Team Draft in our fight to raise lung cancer awareness!