Orlando, FL. Lung cancer survivor-advocate and Super Bowl Challenge runner-up Lisa Moran represented Team Draft at the Pro Bowl in Orlando on January 26, 2020. Lisa, a former USPS mail carrier who was born and raised in Dayton, Ohio but now lives in Colorado Springs, Colorado, was diagnosed with lung cancer in August 2015. As Lisa recalls, “I was diagnosed the first week of Browns preseason football and I started my treatment in September.” The treatments sapped her energy, but she still made it out to watch every Browns game with the Pikes Peak Browns Backers. “Lung cancer treatment could take my energy, but it wasn’t going to take away my Browns,” she says.
Lisa recognizes the important role lung cancer research plays in her life. “Because of lung cancer research, we know my cancer has a targeted therapy.” she says. But for Lisa, like many lung cancer survivors, the fight is not over. “My therapy will eventually quit working against my cancer,” she explains, adding “lung cancer research is vital for my future and my quality of life.” It is for these reasons that Lisa has committed 90% of the funds she raises during the Challenge to Colorado University Cancer Center’s Lung Cancer Colorado Fund. For Lisa, “getting to donate to fund lung cancer research is the win.”
Team Draft was founded by former NFL linebacker and internationally-recognized health advocate, Chris Draft, and his late wife, Keasha, on November 27, 2011—their wedding day. At the time, Keasha, a never-smoker, was battling Stage IV Lung Cancer after being diagnosed with the disease in December 2010. Despite the diagnosis and knowing the long odds they faced, Chris and Keasha decided to fight back, and standing side-by-side, they launched Team Draft at their wedding. Keasha died one month later.
Since its founding, Team Draft has been dedicated to using its unique platform to raise lung cancer awareness and research funding through its Campaign To Change The Face Of Lung Cancer. And the centerpiece of that Campaign is Team Draft’s 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 to raise lung cancer awareness on an international level.”
“With the game as a backdrop,” says Draft, “we give our survivor-advocates a world-wide platform to share their stories, which we can then use 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 Challenge achieves some amazing things in terms of public awareness and changing perceptions about lung cancer,” says Dr. Ross Camidge, Director of Thoracic Oncology at Colorado University Cancer Center.
In addition to raising critical public awareness, the Super Bowl Challenge also raises funds for lung cancer organizations and treatment centers across North America. And because Team Draft’s National Campaign has always been about “we” and not “me,” just as Keasha intended, participating survivor-advocates who raise more than $5,000 during the Super Bowl Challenge may commit 90% of the funds they raise to a lung cancer organization or cancer center of their choice with the remaining 10% going to support Team Draft and its mission. 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.”
As Draft points out, “anybody can get lung cancer.” “The disease doesn’t care where you live, but your zip code often determines the quality of care you receive,” he explains. “In football, we understand the importance of the home field advantage. By allowing survivors to direct where funds go, we’re giving people the opportunity to fight for better cancer treatment in their communities—to give themselves and their neighbors the home field advantage,” he says.