Archive for February, 2012

Charlotte Bobcats Pay Tribute to Keasha Draft

Saturday, February 11th, 2012

The Charlotte Bobcats’ Lady Cats dance team paid tribute to Keasha tonight with a special dance dedicated to her memory performed during the Bobcats’ game against the Los Angeles Clippers.

As a former Charlotte Hornets Honeybee Dancer , Keasha loved dancing.  It gave her strength and hope.  And after her first chemotherapy treatment, she and Chris made a video of her dancing to send a message to her friends and family that she would keep dancing no matter what, and as a reminder to always dance, smile, and live.

Thanks to the Lady Cat’s and the other NBA and NCAA dance squads that have performed dance tributes, Keasha is still dancing today. See Keasha’s dance after her first chemo treatment on the Team Draft Vimeo page.

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Team Draft Keeps Pounding in Charlotte

Friday, February 10th, 2012

Team Draft travelled to Charlotte, North Carolina today—a city that holds a special place in our hearts.  Although born in Anderson, South Carolina, Charlotte was Keasha’s adopted hometown before she moved to Atlanta to be with Chris.  And it is in Charlotte where Chris and Keahsa first met and fell in love.  At the time, Chris was playing for the Carolina Panthers and Keasha was working for Sanofi-Aventis Pharmaceuticals.

Team Draft came to Charlotte to visit the Levine Cancer Institute (LCI) at Carolinas Medical Center.  Team Draft toured LCI and met with hospital administrators, doctors, and staff members in support of our  efforts to promote cancer awareness, research, and scholarship, and to improve the patient treatment experience by identifying and promoting best practices.

As one of the newest cancer centers in the country, LCI is revolutionizing the cancer treatment model by redefining the traditional cancer center.  Traditionally, cancer care services are centralized on flagship campuses, but LCI is taking the opposite approach, offering compassionate, state-of-the-art  care to patients at facilities throughout both North and South Carolina.  By eliminating natural distance barriers between cancer centers, LCI is giving patients the home field advantage in their fight against cancer.

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Derek Raghavan, M.D., Ph.D, Levine Cancer Institute in Charlotte, NC from TEAM DRAFT on Vimeo.


Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center’s Dr. Mark Kris Speaks About Genetic Testing in Lung Cancer

Wednesday, February 8th, 2012

Mark G. Kris, MD, Thoracic Oncology Service from Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center describes the use of genetic testing in lung cancer.

Dr. Kris says doctors have long known that despite a person having a diagnosis of a certain cancer, what happens to that person and their response to therapy varies quite a bit, and there has never been a good explanation as to why. In the last ten years, doctors have learned that, at least in lung cancer, the cancer cells are driven by genetic changes and mutations. When a specific mutation is discovered, it defines different groups of patients and gives the physician an idea of what therapy might be best.
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Former NFL Linebacker Chris Draft Announces the Keasha Rutledge Draft Memorial Scholarship at Clemson University

Tuesday, February 7th, 2012

Clemson, SC- On Tuesday, February 7, Chris Draft, former NFL linebacker and founder of the Chris Draft Family Foundation, announced the Keasha Rutledge Draft Memorial Scholarship to the Clemson University family in honor of his late wife Keasha, a proud Clemson alumna.  The Scholarship, which was announced at the Tiger’s basketball game against ACC rival Maryland, was created to provide an opportunity for Clemson students to further their studies in pursuit of their dreams, will be awarded annually to special students who embody Keasha’s strength and determination. The game featured a special tribute by Clemson’s Rally Cats, the University’s official dance team.  All of the night’s dances were dedicated to Keasha, a former Rally Cat.

Tuesday’s introduction marks Team Draft’s initial effort to galvanize Keasha’s Clemson family to aid in supporting the Keasha Rutledge Draft Memorial Scholarship for Clemson University undergraduate students. “Tonight’s Rally Cat tribute to Keasha captured her vibrance and effervescence.  Team Draft is grateful that the Clemson family has engaged the Clemson alumni to support and donate to the Keasha Rutledge Draft Memorial Scholarship,” said Chris Draft.  “We are excited and gratified that Keasha’s Clemson family has embraced Team Draft and our fight to tackle cancer.”

The Keasha Rutledge Draft Memorial Scholarship is an effort of Team Draft, a Chris Draft Family Foundation initiative created by the Foundation’s co-founders during her year-long fight with devastating stage four lung cancer.  Following her diagnosis in December 2010, Keasha chose to continue to live, smile and dance, while at the same time deciding to elevate the public consciousness of lung cancer by eradicating the stigma and stereotypes associated with the disease.  Chris and Keasha’s Team Draft initiative embodies the spirit of Keasha’s courageous fight.

A healthy, energetic and vibrant woman, who never smoked and was the picture of health when diagnosed, Keasha spent the past year showing her friends and family how important it is to hold onto life and love, while continuing to smile.  The Keasha Rutledge Draft Memorial Scholarship will give Clemson University undergraduate students the opportunity to follow in her footsteps.  Her hope, and her husband’s hope, is to give others the chance to live, dance and smile, while they find their way in the world.

On Tuesday night, the Clemson Rally Cats dedicated the entire night to Keasha’s memory, designating the first dance of the game as a tribute to her courageousness and vibrance, which serves as a light that continues to inspire the Rally Cats.  Wearing pearls and pearl-colored ribbons in honor of Keasha and her valiant fight against lung cancer, the Rally Cats and the entire Clemson family have joined Team Draft to change the face of cancer . . . one breath at a time.

The Clemson family, Team Draft and the Rally Cats are committed to assembling the necessary resources to ensure that Keasha’s light continues to shine, and to give young people the same opportunities Keasha had as a Clemson student, and then as a Clemson alum.   The Keasha Rutledge Draft Memorial Scholarship, funded solely by donations, exists to support undergraduate education at Clemson University.  As part of Team Draft’s campaign to raise awareness and shatter stigmas that plague lung cancer and impact funding, the Keasha Rutledge Draft Memorial Scholarship’s support of Clemson undergraduates plays a crucial role in educating future generations.  Ensuring that Clemson undergraduates follow in Keasha’s footsteps and bring vibrant energy to their studies and post-undergraduate plans, Team Draft’s introduction of the Keasha Rutledge Draft Memorial Scholarship is the beginning of a nation-wide effort to raise the funds necessary to help future Clemson Tigers make their mark, just as Keasha has.  To support the Keasha Rutledge Draft Memorial Scholarship and help remember a beautiful life, please visit Keasha’s special page at Clemson University’s Giving website.

Clemson University Rallycats tribute to Keasha Ruledge Draft from TEAM DRAFT on Vimeo.

Team Draft kicks off its national campaign to change the face of lung cancer during Super Bowl Week in Indianapolis

Monday, February 6th, 2012

In December 2010, Keasha Rutledge Draft was diagnosed with Stage IV lung cancer when she went to her doctor after feeling a slight shortness of breath a few days earlier.  As a former Charlotte Hornets Honeybee dancer and member of Clemson University’s Rally Cat dance squad, Keasha was an energetic, vibrant young woman who never smoked and was the picture of health at the time of her diagnosis.  Despite the diagnosis and knowing the long odds they faced, Keasha and her husband, former NFL linebacker, Chris Draft 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.

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.  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 kill 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, and during Super Bowl Week in Indianapolis, Team Draft kicked off a  national campaign to change the face of lung cancer.

The week began with Chris Draft hitting “radio row” to raise lung cancer awareness by telling Keasha’s inspiring story and challenging people to respond on national and local radio shows across the country.  Chris carried that message to the Super Bowl of Gospel, where he gave a powerful testimonial about Keasha’s indomitable spirit and grace in the face of this life-threatening disease.

Later in the week, Chris toured Indianapolis’ newly-expanded St. Francis Cancer Center where he had the opportunity to talk with doctors, hospital administrators and staff, and  to visit with patients.  The 90,000 square foot facility includes a salon where patients can be fitted with wigs in a private, comfortable environment, a retail center, a patient resource center, and a magnificent two-story glass lobby adjacent to a private outdoor courtyard, providing natural light and pleasant outdoor surroundings accessible to patients and their families.  These amenities highlight St. Francis’ commitment to treating the entire patient, and not just the disease. 

Team Draft is dedicated to 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.  The St. Francis Cancer Center is just the first stop on a national tour of state-of-the-art cancer centers Team Draft will be going on to identify best practices in patient care and cancer treatment.

The campaign kick-off concluded on Super Bowl Sunday when, as part of a special edition of Sunday NFL Countdown, ESPN premiered Jeremy Schaap’s touching profile of Chris and Keasha, and their commitment to dance, smile, and live as they fought lung cancer together.

Team Draft is committed to carrying on that fight by promoting awareness, research, and scholarship through its national campaign to change the face of lung cancer, but it takes a team to tackle cancer, and we need your help.  You can follow the campaign on this blog and respond and donate at

Sunday NFL Countdown – Keasha & Chris Draft from TEAM DRAFT on Vimeo.
5 Facts About Lung Cancer
1. Anyone can get lung cancer
2. Nearly 50-60% of lung cancers are diagnosed in either never-smokers or former smokers.
3. Lung cancer surpassed Breast cancer as the number #1 cancer killer of women in 1987
4. A 5 year survival rate is only 15% — the same as it was 40 years ago. Although survivals for early stage lung cancers have improved in recent years, there is no cure for stage 4 lung cancer, which is by far the most common stage at the time of diagnosis.
5. Lung Cancer kills more people than breast, prostate, colon, liver, kidney and melanoma cancer…Combined