Beverly, Mass. Lahey Hospital lung cancer survivor-advocate Jeremy Smallwood was the top fundraiser in Team Draft’s 2017 Lung Cancer Survivors Super Bowl Challenge. Jeremy and his wife, Amanda, headed to Houston, Texas to represent Team Draft at Super Bowl LI and the 26th annual Taste of the NFL. Among other experiences, Jeremy and Amanda witnessed the first overtime Super Bowl game and the largest come back in Super Bowl history.
The Super Bowl itself was amazing! The whole experience has been phenomenal…couldn’t ask for anything more! More than we expected. Thanks to Lahey Hospital and Team Draft for the experience and getting us here to Houston! Thanks to everyone that got us here. And thank you everyone from Lahey and Team Draft, family and friends and all other supporters. It was a great fundraising experience, enjoyable and friendly and addictive competition. It was a great once in a lifetime opportunity! ~ Amanda
Founded by Draft and his late wife Keasha, who died of lung cancer in 2011 at the age of 38, Team Draft is dedicated to raising lung cancer awareness and increasing badly needed research funding through its Campaign To Change The Face Of Lung Cancer, which is committed to shattering the misconception that lung cancer is a “smoker’s disease.” The centerpiece of Team Draft’s Campaign is its annual Lung Cancer Survivors Super Bowl Challenge.
The Super Bowl Challenge participants were part of a friendly competition, with the top fundraisers awarded trips to Super Bowl LI, the NFL Pro-Bowl and the Taste of the NFL. Jeremy and the other winners, announced on January 2, 2017, will have an opportunity to share their powerful stories with key individuals with influence from across the country.
As Draft explains, “the Super Bowl Challenge gives us 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. With the game as a backdrop, we can use 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.” And Team Draft’s efforts are paying off.
We are beyond excited to be going to the Super Bowl especially because it means that we raised so much money for a great cause (Tackling lung cancer) that is also so close to our hearts. And we had a ton of fun while doing it!!! ~ Jeremy and Amanda
In addition to raising critical public awareness, the Super Bowl Challenge also raises funds for lung cancer organizations and treatment centers across North America. Last year, participants who raised more than $1,000 during the Super Bowl Challenge were able to commit 50% of the funds they raised to a lung cancer organization or cancer center of their choice.
Thanks to the overwhelming success of our annual Super Bowl Challenge, Team Draft is maintaining its commit to 50% if the survivors raise over $1,000, but if survivors raise over $5,000, their designated beneficiary will receive 80% with the remaining 20% going to support Team Draft’s mission to change the face of lung cancer.
My experience with cancer began 3 years ago. A bump developed on my head accompanied by headaches. After testing, it was found to be a tumor which metastasized from stage 4 lung cancer. It was quite a shock. The immediate thought that came to mind was the classic view of cancer and its treatment, a short life of chemotherapy and radiation. Thankfully through the hardwork and donations to help fund improvements in treatment, there have been so many advances. Now the doctors develop an individual treatment program for you, through various tests a profile is created to find ways to target your particular affliction resulting in a greater likelihood of successful outcomes and in a better quality of life for the patient. There is also a focus on diet and mental health which keeps your system firing on all cylinders. I am thankful for all the great doctors, nurses, technicians, and volunteers that have been there for us through it all. The kindness and caring shown to my wife and I by Lahey Hospital has been remarkable. With their constant support through these trying times, it has enabled us to endure. It has allowed me to lead an almost normal life, to enjoy the time I have left with the ones I love, also enabling me to think past tomorrow, to dream of future things to come. Providing me with opportunities such as this foundation, help this great foundation raise funds for this necessary research. It would be so amazing if I get a once in a lifetime chance of going to the Super Bowl. To make it even more special, the Super Bowl will take place in the state where I grew up, and it would be the first time I make it back in about 30 years.
About the Super Bowl LI
Super Bowl LI was an American football game played between the American Football Conference (AFC) champions New England Patriots and the National Football Conference (NFC) champions Atlanta Falcons, to decide the National Football League (NFL) champion for the 2016 season. The Patriots defeated the Falcons, 34–28, in the first Super Bowl ever to go into an overtime period.
Super Bowl LI was played at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas, on Sunday, February 5, 2017. It was the second Super Bowl to be held at NRG Stadium, the other being Super Bowl XXXVIII in 2004, which also featured the New England Patriots against that season’s NFC South champion Carolina Panthers. It was also the third time the Super Bowl has been played in Houston, with Super Bowl VIII in 1974 having been held at Rice Stadium.
More than 30 team and individual Super Bowl records were either broken or matched in Super Bowl LI. The Patriots overcame a 25-point deficit to win (trailed 28–3 with 2:07 left in the third quarter), breaking the record for the largest deficit overcome to win the Super Bowl (the previous record was ten points, which was set during Super Bowl XXII and later matched twice). New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, who completed 43 passes on 62 attempts for 466 yards, all single game Super Bowl records, was named Super Bowl MVP for a record fourth time. James White‘s 14 receptions and 20 points scored were also Super Bowl records. The Patriots’ victory was their fifth all-time, moving them into a three-way tie with the Dallas Cowboys and the San Francisco 49ers for second place on the all-time Super Bowl wins list, trailing only the Pittsburgh Steelers who have six Super Bowl victories.
Super Bowl LI was the Patriots’ record-setting ninth Super Bowl appearance, their second in three years, and their seventh under the leadership of head coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady. The Falcons entered the game trying to win their first Super Bowl title, having lost their only previous appearance in Super Bowl XXXIII.
About the Taste of the NFL
Since 1992, the Taste of the NFL (a 501c3 organization) has rallied the country’s top chefs and the NFL’s greatest players to raise money in support of food banks throughout the United States.
This is done through via three avenues:
• on-line donations during the KICK HUNGER CHALLENGE® (September – January)
• locally hosted Taste Of The NFL events by an NFL team and their food bank featuring their players and local chefs
• The Super Bowl Taste Of The NFL – The Party with a Purpose®. Held on the eve of Super Bowl in the host city. This event is a unique way to experience exceptional cuisine, meet NFL players and coaches, and support our fight against hunger.
Through the efforts of hundreds of volunteers who help make “Taste of the NFL – Party With A Purpose” the single most successful charitable event at the Super Bowl, the Taste of the NFL organization continues to help feed the 37 million Americans who have turned to their local food banks for assistance. Millions of needs, thousands of families and dozens of new hunger projects have been affected by this major volunteer effort. Our goal: end hunger.