Tackling Cancer with the Chicago Bears 2019
What Is Our Tackling Cancer Initiative?
While Team Draft’s primary focus has been lung cancer, we recognize that all cancer survivors and caregivers are all on a similar journey, fighting a similar battle. In short, we are all on the same team.
Through our Tackling Cancer initiative, we are working with the Chicago Bears to arrange to have cancer survivors (regardless of cancer type) from their local cancer centers and their caregivers participate in a “tackling cancer” football clinic and discussion. Our goals are to create a unique experience for participating survivors and caregivers, to spark discussion and the sharing of information between those battling different types of cancer, and to raise awareness on a local and national level about the importance of having a solid cancer care TEAM for all cancers.
What is Team Draft?
Team Draft is an initiative of the Chris Draft Family Foundation created by nationally recognized health advocate and former NFL linebacker, Chris Draft and his late wife, Keasha during Keasha’s year-long battle with lung cancer. Their hope was that Keasha’s valiant fight to dance, smile and live would give hope, comfort and inspiration to the patients, caregivers and healthcare providers who are battling the disease every day.
While attending Clemson University, Keasha was a member of the Rally Cat’s dance squad before graduating with a degree in Electrical Engineering. After graduation, Keasha worked as an engineer while dancing for the NBA’s Charlotte Hornets before working in the pharmaceutical industry. She was an energetic, vibrant young woman who had never smoked when she was diagnosed with Stage IV Lung Cancer in December 2010. At the time, her only “symptom” was a slight shortness of breath a few days earlier. Despite the diagnosis and knowing the long odds they faced, Keasha and Chris decided to fight back. On November 27, 2011, standing side-by-side, they launched Team Draft at their wedding. One month later, Keasha lost her courageous fight and died at the age of 38.
Team Draft is dedicated to raising lung cancer awareness and increasing badly needed research funding by shattering the misconception that lung cancer is a “smoker’s disease.” The fact is anybody can get lung cancer. Yet, despite the fact that between 20,000 and 30,000 people who have never smoked—including Keasha—are diagnosed with lung cancer in the United States each year, the smoking stigma negatively impacts lung cancer research funding, which pales in comparison to funding for other major cancers and diseases. Team Draft is out to change all that by using the unique platform available to Chris as a former NFL player and nationally recognized community leader and health advocate to lead a National Campaign to Change the Face of Lung Cancer—a campaign that has taken us to more than 100 of the top cancer treatment and research centers in North America.