March 12, 2012 (Atlanta, GA) – Veteran NFL linebacker Chris Draft is continuing a nationwide campaign to build a team to conquer the number one cancer killer of women, lung cancer. In partnership with the NFL Players, Inc.-affiliated School of the Legends, Draft today issued an unprecedented challenge to all current and former NFL players to join Team Draft in its fight to tackle cancer by changing the face of lung cancer, the disease that claimed the life of Chris’ late wife, Keasha, just over two months ago.
The challenge comes on the heels of the first legs of a national lung cancer awareness campaign that took Chris and Team Draft to some of the top cancer research and treatment facilities in the South, Midwest, and along the West Coast. In working to raise lung cancer awareness and research dollars, Team Draft continues the work of a crusade Chris and Keasha started more than a year ago.
Keasha, a non-smoker, was diagnosed with Stage IV lung cancer when she went to her doctor after noticing a slight shortness of breath a few days earlier. Despite her 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 together at their wedding. One month later, Keasha lost her courageous fight and died at the age of 38.
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. Between 20,000 and 30,000 people who have never smoked—including Keasha—are diagnosed with lung cancer in the United States each year. Yet, despite the fact that lung cancer is the number one cancer killer for women and kills more people than breast, prostate, colon, liver, kidney, and melanoma cancer combined, these cancers receive proportionality more research funding than does lung cancer, largely because of the stigma associated with the disease. Team Draft is out to change all that.
“Lung cancer came into my house, and it took my wife. Too many families are affected by this horrible disease. It’s time to respond,” said Draft. He went on to explain, “That’s why Keasha and I launched Team Draft. She wanted to be an inspiration to those battling the disease and we wanted to raise awareness so that other families wouldn’t have to go through what we went through.” Draft continued, “Team Draft is committed to changing the face of lung cancer, but it takes a team to tackle cancer, and we are calling on my fellow NFL players and communities across the country to respond by joining Team Draft in our fight by supporting our national campaign to raise public awareness.”
Draft’s challenge was issued through a video developed in partnership with School of the Legends and distributed via email to current and former players. Draft issued a similar challenge to the general public in a separate video, which was also developed in partnership with School of the Legends.
Call to Action
Team Draft is asking the NFL players and the general public to support its national public awareness campaign by donating and using social media sites such as facebook, Twitter, and School of the Legends, to help spread the word that anyone can get lung cancer—even non-smokers like Keasha. To view both video challenges and to respond and donate in support of Team Draft’s national lung cancer awareness campaign, visit www.teamdraft.org.
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 primary 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 cancer awareness, research, and scholarship, and to saving lives by changing the face of lung cancer.
Team Draft is dedicated to raising awareness, accelerating research for a cure, and leading improvements in the patient treatment experience by improving cancer treatment facilities and creating a better environment in which those battling the disease can fight. To learn more about Team Draft, please visit www.teamdraft.org.