Archive for February, 2012

Patient Care is a Team Effort at UT Southwestern’s Harold C. Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center

Wednesday, February 29th, 2012

Today, Team Draft traveled to Dallas to visit the Harold C. Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center at UT Southwestern (Simmons).  Long recognized as one of the nation’s top research facilities, Simmons is also one of the premier cancer treatment facilities in the country.  And at Simmons, patient care is a team effort.

The secret to Simmons’ success, is its nationally-recognized Supportive Care Program.  The Program employs a collaborative approach to patient care involving a specially trained multidisciplinary team of cancer-specific psychologists, social workers, dietitians, chaplains, and behavioral scientists offering state-of-the-art therapeutic approaches tailored to the individual needs of patients and their families.

Simmons Cancer Center is committed to treating the whole person-not just the disease. The Supportive Care Program is evidence of that commitment.

Respond and Donate

UT Southwestern Simmons Cancer Center from TEAM DRAFT on Vimeo.

Ashley Joy Mahaffey is Changing the Face of Lung Cancer

Monday, February 27th, 2012

Today, a remarkable woman shared her mother’s story with Chris.  Team Draft is proud to share the Ashley Joy’s story of her mother, Patricia Mahaffey.

Dear Chris,

I always say the message you need to hear will find you…I believe you are my message. Around 4:00AM  on Monday, February 27, I woke up to a commercial for an 11Alive news piece about you wife, Keasha. At First, I thought I misunderstood your story so ; I rewound the DVR and played it again. Then, I started crying. 

On September 1, 2007 (my 29th birthday), my mother was diagnosed with non-small cell stage IV lung cancer. She had just turned 60 in July. While not as young as your wife, my mother was very healthy. She was aware of how poor diet and exercise could shorten the lifespan of an African-American female. She made point to eat well, exercise regularly, take care of the house and yard and stay active with the friends. In addition, she was a non-smoker. She was a great example!

Before her diagnosis, my mother was known for having this cough. She went to the doctor, but no one thought to perform a chest scan or check for cancer because she did not smoke. She went to the hospital because she thought she was having a heart attack. It was then; they diagnosed her with pneumonia and lung cancer. 

Over the next 18 months, my mother fought a tough battle. She went through chemotherapy. It then spread to her brain and she went through radiation. The tumors shrunk and grew and shrunk and grew. It was a roller coaster. On March 4, 2009, Jesus called her home.

It has been almost three years and I miss my mom so much. I try to honor her memory by letting everyone know her story. I tell people, “My mom had cancer.” They say, “I’m sorry. What kind?” I reply, “Lung.” Their facial expression changes from sympathy to judgment. I continue with,” She never smoked anything.” Their face changes from judgment to guilt.

I know if more people were aware that non-smokers get lung cancer too, more research and funding would be made available. For my mom, I believe it is our genetic cancer because she lost a sister (my aunt) to and has a nephew (my cousin) with lung cancer. Neither of them smoked. 

I thank you for listening to my mom’s story. I thank you for what you are doing. I thank you for telling your wife’s story. You touched someone who was feeling alone and needed to hear your message.

Ashley Joy 

LA Clippers Pay Tribute to Keasha Draft

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012
Chris Draft and the Spirit Dance Team

Chris Draft and the Spirit Dance Team

This evening, the LA Clippers’ Spirit Dance Team joined other NBA and NCAA dance squads that have honored Keasha’s memory by performing dance tributes.  During the Clippers’ game against the Denver Nuggets, the Spirit Dance Team performed a specially choreographed dance in Keasha’s honor.  Through their dance tribute, the Spirit Dance Team is helping Team Draft change the face of lung cancer by helping us spread the word that anybody can get lung cancer—even non-smokers like Keasha.

As a former Charlotte Hornets Honeybee Dancer , Keasha loved dancing.  It gave her strength and hope.  And thanks to the Spirit Dance Team and the other NBA and NCAA dance squads that have performed dance tributes, Keasha is still dancing today.

Respond and donate at

Dance, Smile, Live at St. Joseph’s Center for Cancer Prevention and Treatment

Monday, February 20th, 2012

Team Draft ended the West Coast leg of its national campaign to change the face of lung cancer with a stop at St. Joseph’s Center for Cancer Prevention and Treatment in Orange, California where we met DeeDee Weathers-Cox, a former Laker Girl who is using dance therapy to help cancer survivors.  During free weekly classes, DeeDee uses dance not only as way to help cancer survivors stay fit, but to treat the psychological scares that often accompany a cancer diagnosis.

Like DeeDee, Keasha understood the therapeutic power of dance.  Following her first chemotherapy treatment, she and Chris made a video of her dancing to send a message to their friends and family that they would dance, smile, and live no matter what.  Read the full article on the Orange County Register’s website.

Respond and Donate

San Francisco’s Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center is Tackling Lung Cancer

Friday, February 17th, 2012

Today, Team Draft had the privilege of touring UC San Francisco’s Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center (UCSF) with lung cancer survivor and advocate, Bonnie J. Addario.  Five years ago, Bonnie was diagnosed with Stage IIIB non-small cell lung cancer.  She was given only a 2% chance of survival.  Like Keasha, Bonnie is a fighter, and after life-saving surgery performed at UCSF, she is now cancer free.  But, for Bonnie the fight isn’t over.

Bonnie is a tireless advocate.  She is the founder of both the Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation (BJALCF) and its partner organization, the Addario Lung Cancer Medical Institute (ALCMI).  Through research, awareness, and advocacy efforts, BJALCF and ALCMI are working to increase the survival rate for lung cancer.

Team Draft is proud to call Bonnie a friend, and we look forward to working closely with BJALCF and ALCMI as we change the face of lung cancer.

Respond and Donate 

Keasha Danced: Anniversary of Keasha’s 1st Chemo

Thursday, February 16th, 2012

On February 16, 2011, Keasha Danced!  Today marks the anniversary of Keasha’s first chemotherapy treatment, and we remember a woman who courageously faced lung cancer, showing us all with every breath that we all need to hold onto life and love with both hands for as long as we can.

Keasha’s Dance after her 1st Chemo from TEAM DRAFT on Vimeo.

Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
‘Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.

Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I’ll rise.

Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops.
Weakened by my soulful cries.

Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don’t you take it awful hard
‘Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines
Diggin’ in my own back yard.

You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.

Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I’ve got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?
-Maya Angelou

Taking Stock at UCLA’s Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center

Thursday, February 16th, 2012

Today, Team Draft visited UCLA’s Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, where we had the opportunity to sit down with Dr. Edward B. Garon, Assistant Clinical Professor and Director of the Medical Oncology Program in Thoracic Malignancies at the David Geffen School of Medicine, to discuss the future of lung cancer treatment.

According Dr. Garon, this is an exciting period in the history of lung cancer treatment. Thanks to advances in molecular tumor mutation testing, researchers and treating physicians such as Dr. Garon and his colleagues are developing effective personal lung cancer treatments designed to extend and, ultimately, save lives. As a member of the 14-hospital Lung Cancer Mutation Consortium, the Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center is on the cutting-edge of this revolutionary treatment approach—an approach that is already starting to yield results. For example, the Lung Cancer Mutation Consortium has already developed targeted drugs aimed at two of the mutations known to cause lung cancer. These drugs are extending the lives of some patients by as much as 10 months.

Echoing, a message we have being hearing from lung cancer researchers, treating physicians, and advocates across the country, Dr. Garon noted that the key to making even greater strides is funding. Team Draft, is committed to raising lung cancer awareness and increasing badly needed research funding by changing the face of lung cancer. But it takes a team to tackle cancer, and we need your help. Respond and Donate

Music Matters at UC Irvine’s Chao Family Comprehensive Cancer Center

Wednesday, February 15th, 2012

UC Irvine Chao Family Cancer Center

Team Draft kicked off the West Coast leg of its national campaign to change the face of lung cancer with a stop at the Chao Family Comprehensive Cancer (CFCC) at UC Irvine.  Team Draft visited CFCC to learn about an exciting new weapon in the cancer treatment arsenal:  music.

Music therapists at the CFCC’s infusion center are using music to treat pain, anxiety, and nausea in patients undergoing chemotherapy.  After just one 30 minute music therapy session, patients report a 45% decrease in pain and a 65% decrease in both anxiety and nausea.

“Music must take rank as the highest of the fine arts—as the one which, more than any other, ministers to human welfare.”  -  Herbert Spencer

Respond and Donate

Music Therapy at the UC Irvine Chao Family Cancer Center from TEAM DRAFT on Vimeo.

Vanderbilt-Ingram is Tackling Lung Cancer

Monday, February 13th, 2012

Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center

Lung cancer is the number one cancer killer in the country.  It kills more people than breast, prostate, colon, liver, kidney, and melanoma  cancer combined.  While these facts may be disheartening, there is hope.  Team Draft took a trip to Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center to meet with Dr. Pierre Massion, Ingram Associate Professor of Medicine and Cancer Biology, to learn how advancements in early detection and treatment are saving extending lives.

Thanks to the dedication and commitment of researchers and treating physicians like Dr. Massion and his colleagues at Vanderbilt-Ingram, we now have a mechanism to detect  lung cancer early, which dramatically increases the survival rate for lung cancer patients.  By submitting high-risk patients to regular spiral CT scans and CAT scans, doctors have decreased the mortality rate by 20%.

Vanderbilt-Ingram and the other members of the 14-hospital Lung Cancer Mutation Consortium (LCMC) are also revolutionizing the way lung cancer is treated by promoting molecular tumor mutation testing for lung cancer patients.  It is through such testing performed at Vanderbilt-Ingram that Keasha’s particular mutation was identified.  Molecular testing is one of the keys to developing effective personalized lung cancer treatments.  As a result of these efforts, the LCMC has already developed targeted drugs aimed at two of the mutations known to cause lung cancer.  These drugs are extending the lives of some patients by as much as 10 months.

Although there has been significant progress over the last decade, more funding is necessary to maintain the momentum.  Team Draft is dedicated to raising lung cancer awareness and increasing badly needed research funding by changing the face of lung cancer, but it takes a team to tackle cancer, and we need your help.  Respond and Donate

Dr. Pierre Massion, Vanderbilt University from TEAM DRAFT on Vimeo.

There’s a Draft in the Building: Fox Charlotte Interview

Sunday, February 12th, 2012

Chris Draft visits Fox Charlotte’s studio to wrap up his weekend trip to the Carolinas.

Chris Draft on Fox Charolette from TEAM DRAFT on Vimeo.