2018 Lung Cancer Survivors Super Bowl Challenge


Atlanta, GA. Team Draft’s fourth annual Lung Cancer Survivors Super Bowl Challenge kicked off on November 1, 2017. This unique fund raising challenge gives lung cancer survivors the opportunity to raise funds for public awareness and cutting-edge research that is giving new hope to those battling this often misunderstood disease. The top four fundraisers will be awarded trips to Super Bowl LII (February 4, 2018), the 2018 NFL Pro Bowl (January 28, 2018), the 2018 Taste of the NFL (February 3, 2018), and the 2018 College Football National Championship (January 8, 2018). The survivors have an opportunity to share their powerful stories with key individuals with influence from across the country.

The top four fundraisers were announced on January 1, 2018:

Big Sky, Montana lung cancer survivor Linda Wortman attended Super Bowl LII on February 4, 2018 and the 2018 Taste of the NFL in St. Paul, Minnesota on February 3, 2018.

I am a 10 Year Lung Cancer SURVIVOR & I Never Smoked! I want to create awareness that Lung Cancer is ‘AnyBody’s’ Disease’…To Save Lungs & Lives & ‘Blow Lung Cancer Away’ by donating funds to Mayo Clinic Lung Research.

Due to UNFAIR STIGMA Lung Cancer Research is the gravely underfunded!  I decided it is time to “change the face of lung cancer”. ~ read more about Linda Wortman 


Denver, Colorado lung cancer survivor Matt Arensdorf  attended Super Bowl LII on February 4, 2018 and the 2018 Taste of the NFL in St. Paul, Minnesota on February 3, 2018.  

Life couldn’t have been any better in early 2016. My wife, Jen, and I had just celebrated the birth of our daughter, Grace. I had an amazing wife and a perfect little girl. To put a cherry on top the Denver Broncos had just won the super bowl. Jen and I, like all new parents, were navigating the uncharted waters of parenting. Trying to figure out all the little things like how do we get Grace to sleep through the night and is she eating enough? We were also making plans for our future with our new baby. Picking out a daycare, setting up her college fund, determining how may siblings she’d have and how close in age we wanted them to be. Then all those questions and plans were put on hold. ~ Read more about Matt Arensdorf 


Sacramento, California lung cancer survivor Teri Kennedy asked Atlanta lung cancer survivor Patty Watkins to represent her at the  2018 NFL Pro Bowl in Orlando, Florida on January 28, 2018. 

I was diagnosed with Stage IV NSCLC with EGFR mutation in August 2015.  Myself and a few other EGFR patients started the EGFR Resisters with the goal of moving forward research and treatment options for those with EGFR lung cancer that are resisting approved TKIs and to provide support to each other.  The funds raised will toward moving this group forward, starting a website and litarature and alliging with lung cancer research foundation to establish specific EGFR reseach. ~ Read more about Teri Kennedy 

Denver, Colorado lung cancer survivor Anne Phillips  attended the 2018 College Football National Championship, in Atlanta, GA on January 8, 2018.

In May of 2015, I had a seizure and collapsed one morning before taking my young children to school. Within 24 hours, the doctors suspected I had lung cancer. There was a tumor in the upper lobe of my left lung and multiple metastasis in my brain.  Two days later I had brain surgery to remove the largest brain tumor, the one that caused the seizure, and the oncologist sent material from the tumor to be genomically tested. Tumor testing showed that I had an EGFR mutation which could be treated with a targeted-therapy drug called Tarceva. The drug worked well for almost 2 years before my cancer progressed and metastasized to a lymph node. Fortunately, a new therapy that targeted both mutations had recently been developed, and I was able to switch to Tagrisso earlier this year.

People frequently think that I am “cured” because I don’t look like I have cancer. The reality is that I have cancer now and I always will. ~ Read more about Anne Phillips

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.

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.

“The Super Bowl Challenge achieves amazing things in terms of public awareness and changing perceptions about lung cancer,” says Dr. Ross Camidge, the Director of Thoracic Oncology at Colorado University Cancer Center, the cancer center where two of last year’s Super Bowl Challenge winners were treated.

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 they 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.

Of this aspect of the Super Bowl Challenge, Dr. Camidge says, “you need somebody working on the national level. You need somebody working on the local level. Everybody wins.”

For the survivors who participate, the Super Bowl Challenge is so much more than just a fundraiser.

“Team Draft has really helped boost our family’s spirits during this challenging time,” says Dr. Lucy Kalanithi. In 2015, Lucy and her husband, Dr. Paul Kalanithi, won Team Draft’s inaugural Super Bowl Challenge and were able to join Team Draft in Phoenix, Arizona for Super Bowl 49.  Paul went on to write the bestselling memoir When Breath Becomes Air — a powerful and moving chronicle of his life and lung cancer journey — before passing away at the age of 37.

2016 Super Bowl Challenge winner, Kim Ringen says, “As a lung cancer survivor, I would highly recommend to anybody to put your hat in the ring because it is so uplifting to be associated with a group of people that are coming together to make a difference.”

To learn more about Team Draft’s 2018 Lung Cancer Survivors Super Bowl Challenge, visit https://www.crowdrise.com/2018SuperBowlChallenge

Special thanks to NFL, Astra Zeneca, and all of our Team Draft supporters for helping make this experience possible.

About Team Draft

Team Draft, an initiative of the Chris Draft Family Foundation, is dedicated to raising lung cancer awareness and increasing research funding by shattering the misconception that lung cancer is a “smoker’s disease.”  Despite the fact that between 20,000 and 30,000 people who have never smoked are diagnosed with lung cancer in the United States each year, the smoking stigma negatively impacts lung cancer research funding, Team Draft is out to change all that. To learn more about Team Draft, share your story, or make a donation, please visit www.teamdraft.org.