(GREEN BAY, WIS.) – November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month, and Team Draft is kicking it off with the Green Bay Packers as they take on their long-time rivals the Chicago Bears on Monday Night Football tonight. In partnership with Bellin Health—the Packers’ official healthcare provider—Team Draft arranged to have the game designated by the Packers as an official lung cancer awareness game. Team Draft co-founder and former NFL linebacker, Chris Draft, will join several area lung cancer survivors and their supporters on the field before the game and as they are recognized as part of the “Roll Out The Barrel” segment during the fourth quarter—a Lambeau Field tradition. And the Packers’ commitment to raising lung cancer awareness doesn’t stop there. Throughout the entire month of November, the team will broadcast lung cancer awareness messages and facts on Lambeau Field’s “Tundravision” and digital sideboards.
On Friday, November 1st, Draft announced the Packers’ lung cancer awareness game during a satellite media tour sponsored by Genentech, a leading biotechnology company. During the tour, Draft, along with lung cancer survivor, Don Stranathan, gave satellite interviews to local and national media outlets around the country discussing their personal experiences with lung cancer, Team Draft’s work, and the importance of talking to your healthcare provider about screening and treatment.
“We are proud to team up with a proven winners like the Packers, Bellin Heath and Genentech to raise public awareness about the true facts of this disease,” says Draft, who lost his wife, Keasha, to lung cancer in December 2011. Draft explains, “I’m proud of my connection to the NFL because when Keasha and I decided we wanted to fight, the League, its teams, and its players were there, and I am thankful for teams like the Packers for giving us the opportunity to continue that fight.”
Tonight’s game is just the latest in Team Draft’s Survivor Series. Working with teams throughout the NFL, NBA, NHL, and NCAA, Team Draft is leading this national effort to have lung cancer survivors, researchers and doctors attend games across the country. As part of Team Draft’s National Campaign to Change the Face of Lung Cancer, the Survivor Series is designed not only to create a unique experience for participating survivors, but perhaps more importantly, 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.
Team Draft, an initiative of the Chris Draft Family Foundation, 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. “If we can take away the stigma that says you have to be a smoker to get lung cancer, we have a real chance to educate people about the true nature of the disease,” explains Draft.
Since Chris and Keasha launched Team Draft at their wedding in November of 2011, Team Draft has been on a mission to tackle cancer. Team Draft’s national campaign to raise public awareness and share the hope that now exists for those diagnosed with the disease has taken it to more than 90 of the top cancer research and treatment facilities in North America.
“Our hope is not only to positively impact research funding, but to improve the quality of life for those affected by lung cancer,” says Draft. “We aren’t fighting against lung cancer, we’re fighting for people. That’s why we are leading this national campaign to change the face of lung cancer.”
The Facts About Lung Cancer
For decades, the facts regarding lung cancer have been sobering:
• Anyone can get lung cancer.
• Over 60% of lung cancers are diagnosed in people who never smoked or in former smokers.
• Lung cancer surpassed breast cancer as the #1 cancer killer for women in 1987.
• Lung cancer kills more people than any other cancer , and takes more lives than breast, cervical, and prostate cancers . . . combined.
• The five year survival rate for lung cancer is just 16%—a rate that has changed very little since the 1970’s.
But now there is HOPE! The use of state-of-the-art lung cancer screening techniques is reducing mortality rates by 20% in some patient groups while cutting-edge team-based, multidisciplinary treatment procedures are improving the quality of life for lung cancer patients across the country. And thanks to advances in molecular tumor mutation testing, researchers and treating physicians are developing effective personal lung cancer treatments designed to extent and, ultimately, save lives. The key to making even greater strides is funding, but funding for lung cancer research is impacted by the “smoker’s disease” stigma. That’s why Team Draft is campaigning to change the face of lung cancer.
About The Chris Draft Family Foundation and Team Draft
The Chris Draft Family Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation dedicated to strengthening communities by empowering families to live healthy lifestyles. The Foundation focuses on several initiatives with overarching themes that stress the importance of education, healthy lifestyles, character development, personal responsibility, self-discipline, and physical fitness. To learn more about the Foundation, please visit www.chrisdraftfamilyfoundation.org.
Through its Team Draft initiative, the Foundation is carrying on Keasha’s fight to tackle cancer by promoting awareness, research, and scholarship and to save lives by changing the face of lung cancer. Team Draft is dedicated to raising awareness, accelerating research for a cure, and giving hope, comfort, and inspiration to the patients, caregivers, and healthcare providers who are battling the disease every day. To learn more about Team Draft, share your story, and respond and donate, please visit www.teamdraft.org. You can follow the national campaign to change the face of lung cancer on our blog at www.thedraftreport.net, and don’t forget to “Like” us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/TeamDraft.