Archive for the ‘Chris Draft’ Category

Hank Baskett And Chris Draft Teamed Up With The Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation To Raise $145,000 To Drive This #1 Cancer Killer Off The Map

Friday, June 15th, 2012

The Former NFL Duo is Rallying a Star-Studded List of Hollywood and Athletic Celebrities to Join Them in Their Personal Journey to Tackle Lung Cancer

Hank: I’m here to support Bonnie’s Foundation because Lung Cancer is personal to me. It has swooped in and attacked my dad, and I understand how brutally destructive this cancer is and how many people are waging war to battle it.

Chris: I am honored to be here and passionate about helping an organization like the Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation that is leading the way, and pushing for immediate answers – not future hypotheses, for people like my wife, who never smoked and was in great physical shape, but was diagnosed with Lung Cancer and died less than a year later. Bonnie is demanding answers NOW!

Hank: Every breath you take-the fuel of your body starts with your lungs. So take care of your lungs because you’ll need them-more than you’ll ever imagine. Trust me.

Bonnie: I get the breathing thing…I know it first hand and I know what it feels like when you can’t. It is our FUEL. Without it, life is terribly compromised…just having the support of Chris and Hank takes my breath away-in the good way!

SAN FRANCISCO, June 20, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — While the U.S. Open was in full swing just 15 minutes away at the Olympic Club in San Francisco, 144 heroes including NFL stars Chris Draft and Hank Baskett were championing the Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation’s Seventh Annual “Lung Cancer: Drive it off the Earth” Golf Tournament at Alistair MacKenzie-designed Green Hills Country Club. This year’s tournament raised more than $145,000 for this least-funded, yet most deadly cancer, which will go toward Lung Cancer research.
For both players, Lung Cancer is personal. Baskett, signed by the Colts and went on to play five years in the NFL with the Indianapolis Colts, Minnesota Vikings, and the Philadelphia Eagles is helping his father battle the disease. Draft, played 12 years in the NFL for the Chicago Bears, San Francisco 49ers, Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, St. Louis Rams, and the Buffalo Bills recently lost his wife to the disease. Together, they are tackling Lung Cancer by raising awareness.

“We’re proud that Hank Baskett and Chris Draft are making a bold statement against Lung Cancer,” says Bonnie J. Addario, founder and a Lung Cancer survivor. “We’re so honored to have Hank and Chris-and their football and Hollywood friends-on our team helping to raise much-needed funding and awareness for Lung Cancer and the message that ANYONE CAN GET LUNG CANCER.”

The reception cocktail party, silent and live auctions and raffle proved that everyone was a winner. Addario, one of the rare Lung Cancer survivors and founder of the Foundation, welcomed Draft and Baskett into the Foundation’s family at dinner.

“I’m so proud to have Hank and Chris in our family,” said Bonnie. “Hank, I loved meeting your Dad at the tournament you held for us in May at the Trump National Golf Club. The only way I can describe him is he’s a GREAT BIG HUG and your mom is a pistol. The leadership and courage you and Chris are bringing to the team has grown way beyond the football field. Thank you for stepping up and helping us turn Lung Cancer into a manageable, survivable disease.”
There wasn’t a dry eye in the house after an airing of “Chris Draft, Love and Loss,” (’s touching profile of Chris and his late wife Keasha, and their commitment to dance, smile, and live as they fought Lung Cancer together. 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 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 together at their wedding. One month later, Keasha lost her courageous fight and died at the age of 38.

“The only way to tackle the issue of Lung Cancer is to do it as a solid team bringing together everyone from the patients and caregivers to the researchers and the doctors who are demanding that the results so far are not good at all,” said Draft. “There’s no one group that has a monopoly on this and that is why I was drawn to Bonnie and the foundation because they are working as a team with (ALCMI) Addario Lung Cancer Medical Institute and their Lung Cancer Living Room® series. ( What separates them is that Bonnie knows there is a sense of urgency. Keasha had one year from her diagnosis, so I don’t listen when someone says ‘we’re working on it.” That’s not good enough.”

First place winners of the sold-out tournament were Michael Vasquez, Greg Gabbani, Josh Lutz and many-time winner Eddie Hernandez with an astounding 54. Second place winners were Rich Deponte, Stan Colombo, Dan Poncabra and long-time faithful major donor Mo Townsley with a score of 55.

The tournament’s presenting sponsor’s team from the Burns Family Foundation and Mobius Fit was led by Rob Dean and the foursome including Dave Engel, Ross Headley and Jeff Lokey came in third with a score of 56 (26 back 9).

Team Draft Uses Power to Tackle Lung Cancer Research and Awareness

Thursday, June 7th, 2012

“I must do all I can to raise awareness about lung cancer research and treatment – make it something we talk about around the dinner table – because I don’t want any other families to go through what we’ve been through.”
Those heartfelt words came from Chris Draft – former NFL linebacker and current lung cancer awareness advocate – after touring UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center in May. Draft lost his long-time love, wife Keasha (38), in December 2011, to stage 4 lung cancer. Keasha was a vibrant, young non-smoker who led a healthy, active lifestyle.
“She was so beautiful and strong,” recalled Draft as he posed for pictures – with Keasha displayed on his iPAD – at various locations throughout Moores Cancer Center. “We have to change the perception that lung cancer is a smoker’s disease and raise awareness as to how prevalent it is.”
UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center is one of more than 30 cancer centers Draft has toured, meeting with lung cancer specialists, including Scott Lippman, MD, Director of Moores Cancer Center.

“Translating lab discoveries of genetic tumor drivers to the clinic is changing cancer medicine,” explained Lippman. “Lung cancer is a great candidate for personalized medicine based on this translation. Early clinical trials based on this lab research can tell you very quickly if the lab data apply to selected tumors in human patients, sometimes within the first few patients. If you’re hitting the right molecular pathway in the right patient, the cancer will be disabled and the patient will respond quickly.”
Draft and Lippman speak a similar language, the language of the competitor: know your enemy, exploit its weakness. In this case, the common enemy is lung cancer. Lippman, who took the reins at Moores Cancer Center in early May, led the Lung Cancer Program of the MD Anderson Cancer Center Support Grant and is editor-in-chief of the AACR journal Cancer Prevention Research. Draft recently founded the Chris Draft Family Foundation, dedicated to eradicating lung cancer. The two plan to meet again this weekend at the ASCO (American Society for Clinical Oncology) conference, to trade ideas and catch up with other industry insiders.
“Having access to a cancer center, such as Moores, in your own neighborhood is so important too,” said Draft. “The cost and difficulty of traveling, the anxiety involved, can be overwhelming. San Diegans are fortunate because Moores Cancer Center is here, right here. You’ve got what you need medically and you’re still surrounded by family, friends and the familiar.”
Lippman also believes that keeping open the channels of communication between comprehensive cancer centers (CCCs; there are 41, nation-wide as of Spring 2012), will help immensely. “Federal funding is tight everywhere. Translating and sharing on a national level, or linking the CCCs, will allow us to go farther, faster.”
For Draft, the end goal is straight forward. “I want to make lung cancer an issue that is so big, so talked about, that no one can ignore it.”
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Team Draft: Notes From the National Campaign Trail

Monday, May 28th, 2012

Sunday, May 13th would have been Keasha’s 39th birthday.  Team Draft marked the occasion by kicking off a week-long bicoastal tour in support of our national campaign to change the face of lung cancer.  The tour took Team Draft to our 30th cancer treatment facility, to the set of Dancing With The Stars, and to Bank of America Stadium, home of the Carolina Panthers.  And none of this would have been possible without the generation support and donations of people like you.  Please help us continue the campaign by making a donation today:

 Finding HOPE on the West Coast

 Team Draft began the tour in Southern California.  On Monday, we had the opportunity to sit down with the newly-appointed Director of Moores Cancer Center at UC San Diego, Dr. Scott Lippman.  And on Wednesday, Team Draft achieved a major milestone when we visited our 30th cancer treatment facility since launching the national campaign: USC’s Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center. Thanks to cutting-edge research like that being performed at these state-of-the-art facilities, for the first time in decades, there is hope in the fight against lung cancer.

Applying revolutionary genomic approaches, researchers have now identified the molecular changes in certain genes that cause some lung cancer tumors to grow.  This discovery opens the door for the development of targeted drugs designed to stop tumor growth in its tracks by interfering with the growth receptors in these mutated genes.  These new targeted drug therapies are extending the lives of some patients by several months, and in some cases, even years.

The key to making even greater strides (and ultimately saving lives) is funding, but funding for lung cancer research is impacted by the stigma that it is a “smoker’s disease.”  The truth is, anybody can get lung cancer—a fact underscored on Thursday by the tragic death from lung cancer of disco legend Donna Summers, who was a non-smoker like Keasha.  That’s why Team Draft is campaigning to change the face of lung cancer and to raise public awareness.  Thankfully, we are not alone.

Before leaving the West Coast, Team Draft visited the set of Dancing With The Stars to show our support for the show’s lung cancer awareness efforts.  This season, DWTS Pros Jonathan Roberts and Anna Trebunskaya performed a tribute dance in honor their friend and fellow ballroom dancer, Julia Ivleva, who is in the middle of her own battle with Stage IV Lung Cancer.  Jonathan, Anna, and Julia embody the dance, smile, and live philosophy, and Team Draft thanks DWTS for helping to shine a light on lung cancer.

Raising AWARENESS on the East Coast

 After completing the West Coast leg of the tour, Team Draft headed to back to the East Coast.  We concluded the tour on Saturday by taking part in two events to raise awareness and funding for cancer research in Keasha’s adopted hometown of Charlotte, North Carolina.

Team Draft began the day at Charlotte’s Park Road Park where Chris addressed a crowd of lung cancer survivors, advocates, and supporters at The North Carolina Lung Cancer Partnership’s inaugural Free to Breathe 5K and Rally. The event raised money for lung cancer research and advocacy.

After the Rally, Team Draft headed to Bank of America Stadium, home of the Carolina Panthers.  As a Panther’s linebacker, Chris used to come to the Stadium to tackle opposing quarterbacks.  On Saturday, Team Draft was there to tackle cancer by participating in the Keep Pounding 5K Stadium Run in support of the Panther’s Keep Pounding Fund and pediatric cancer research at Levine Children’s Hospital.

Team Draft’s national campaign to change the face of lung cancer would not be possible without support from people like you.  Your donation will help ensure that we can continue to raise public awareness of the true nature of the disease and increase the funding needed to tackle it.

To learn more about Team Draft, share your story, and respond and donate, visit  You can follow the national campaign to change the face of lung cancer on our blog at, and don’t forget to “Like” us on Facebook at , and also

Team Draft: Changing the Face of Lung Cancer

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2012

When Chris Draft established the Chris Draft Family Foundationin 2006, inspired by some close friends who had cancer, he never imagined that the disease would claim his wife, Keasha, five years later at age 38—less than a month after their wedding. And especially not Stage IV Lung Cancer.

“Most people associate lung cancer with smoking, but Keasha was never a smoker. In fact, we always stayed as far away as possible from any type of smoke because of my asthma,” says Chris, a former NFL linebacker and Stanford University graduate. “Through the Foundation, and the Team Draft initiative, I want to change the face of lung cancer. I want to take away the stigma and show people the advancements that have been made in curing lung cancer – and give people hope.”

Launched by Chris and Keasha on their wedding day in 2011, the Team Draft initiative is dedicated to raising lung cancer awareness and increasing desperately needed research funding for the disease. Because of its stigma as the ‘smoker’s disease’, funding for lung cancer research pales in comparison to that for other major cancers.

According to the most recent statistics, nearly 50 to 60 percent of lung cancers occur in people who have never smoked or are former smokers. Two-thirds of the non-smokers diagnosed with lung cancer are women, and lung cancer has been the number-one cancer killer of women since 1987!

“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,” Chris says. “The reality was that Keasha was in shape, she was strong, she went to the doctor right away. A lot of people diagnosed with lung cancer are just like Keasha,” a fact underscored by last week’s death from lung cancer of disco legend Donna Summer, who was also a non-smoker.

In the five months since Keasha’s death, Team Draft has been leading a national campaign to change the face of lung cancer, which is focused on educating people not only about the disease itself, but also about the hope that exists for individuals diagnosed with lung cancer today, which is much greater than ever before. The current five-year survival rate for lung cancer is about 16 percent, a number that has changed very little since the 1970s, but there is hope.

Team Draft’s national campaign has taken it to nearly 30 of the country’s top cancer research and treatment facilities in more than a dozen states to give inspiration to those living with the disease and encourage leading researchers to continue to share information with each other that can extend the current life expectancy of lung cancer patients. Chris explains, “Our national campaign to change the face of lung cancer gives us a front-line view of the state of lung cancer research and treatment in America, and this is an exciting period in the history of lung cancer treatment.”

In fact, the use of state-of-the-art lung cancer screening techniques is reducing mortality rates by 20 percent 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 extend and, ultimately, save lives.

“Our hope is not only to positively impact research funding, but also to improve the quality of life for those affected by lung cancer,” says Chris. “We aren’t fighting against lung cancer, we’re fighting for people. That’s why we are changing the face of lung cancer.”

To learn more about the Chris and Keasha, the Chris Draft Family Foundation, including its Team Draft initiative, and the national campaign to change the face of lung cancer, and to respond and donate, please visit and

Local event helps raise awareness for lung cancer research

Saturday, May 19th, 2012

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Runners and walkers were out at Park Road Park to help raise money for lung cancer research during the Free to Breathe event Saturday morning.

Former Carolina Panthers linebacker Chris Draft lost his wife to lung cancer last December and Saturday he was one of many to take part in the event.

“My wife passed away this past December after battling and tackling lung cancer for a year. This disease is terrible, she did not smoke, she was in great shape but lung cancer is a beast,” Draft said. “I had chance to speak to everyone before the race and thank them for being here.”

The event provides an opportunity for lung cancer advocates, survivors and the community to come together to raise awareness and support in the movement to defeat lung cancer.

All proceeds will benefit the North Carolina Lung Cancer Partnership’s research, education and awareness programs.

Changing the Face of Lung Cancer: Keasha Rutledge Draft

Saturday, May 12th, 2012

Keasha Rutledge Draft

May 13, 1973 – December 27, 2011

Lakeasha Monique Rutledge Draft passed away on Tuesday, December 27.  She 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.  Not just an inspiration, but a light, and a force that led the way with a beautiful, sweet smile and bright shining eyes that both belied the pure steel of her strength and determination.

Strong is too pale, too shallow and too small of a word to describe Keasha’s vibrancy… Quite simply, she was ferocious. She fiercely held onto life, and love with a forcefulness that was absolutely awe-inspiring and completely breathtaking. Rest in peace, Mrs. Draft.

A Celebration of Keasha Rutledge Draft’s life will be held on Saturday, December 31st, 1pm at Calvary Baptist Church in Williamston, South Carolina.  She will be laid to rest following the Celebration at New Prospect Baptist Church.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks for support of Team Draft, the Chris Draft Family Foundation’s tribute to Keasha.  Team Draft was created by Chris and Keasha during her year-long struggle with lung cancer in hopes that her valiant fight to live, love, laugh and smile will give hope and comfort to people across the world.  Chris and Keasha, the Draft and Rutledge families, friends and loved ones ask for your support, and love, and thank you for joining Team Draft… because it takes a Team to tackle cancer!

Donations to Team Draft can be made via the Chris Draft Family Foundation’s website or via mail to the Foundation’s Atlanta office.


Psalm 23

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.

He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.

He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.


Team Draft in St. Louis: Former Ram Chris Draft Spreads Cancer Prevention Message to Siteman

Friday, April 27th, 2012

As the Rams welcome newly drafted Louisiana State defensive tackle Michael Brockers to the fold today, we welcomed former Rams linebacker Chris Draft to our Siteman Cancer Center this morning. Draft visited with lung cancer expert Ramaswamy Govindan, MD to learn more about targeted therapies for cancers.

It’s important to Draft as he started the Chris Draft Family Foundation after the passing of his wife Keasha last year to lung cancer. While the vast majority of lung cancers are directly tied to cigarette smoking, Keasha had never smoked.

Draft was very much part of the community when he played for the Rams and as an asthmatic, he was a big part in getting across the message that smoking is dangerous.

It’s also the message of Team Draft. According to his website, “Team Draft was created by Chris and Keasha during her year-long struggle with lung cancer in hopes that her valiant fight to live, love, laugh,and smile will give hope and comfort to people around the world. Team Draft is working to save lives by changing the face of lung cancer, but it takes a team to tackle cancer, and we need your help.” Respond and Donate

For more about Draft and his visit to Siteman, watch this interview with John Pertzborn from this morning’s FOX2 News.

Team Draft Visits Good Day Alabama

Thursday, April 5th, 2012
Good Day Alabama - Fox 6

Good Day Alabama - Fox 6

Veteran NFL Linebacker , NFL ambassador and lung health advocate Chris Draft  is in town today as part of his nationwide tour of leading lung cancer research and treatment centers. Chris’s 38 year old wife, Keasha Rutledge Draft died of lung cancer. Through the Chris Draft Family Foundation, he is carrying on their work of raising lung cancer awareness via the “Team Draft” Initiative – an alliance with the NFL Players Association School of Legends.

Chris will meet with researchers at UAB’s Comprehensive Cancer Center  – and will be meeting with  lung cancer research and treatment faculty to get a close up look at the many promising UAB programs that are fighting the disease. 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. Chris is a veteran NFL linebacker; he played in the league for 13 years and maintains strong ties with the NFL teams he played for: Atlanta Falcons, Washington Redskins, San Francisco Forty Niners, Chicago Bears, Carolina Panthers, St. Louis Rams and the Buffalo Bills. Chris played college football for Stanford University, earning a degree in Economics during his college career.

Click here to watch the video at Fox 6′s Good Day Alabama page.

From CBS42: Team Draft Co-Founder Chris Draft tours UAB Cancer Center

Thursday, April 5th, 2012

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) – On April 5th, 2012 former NFL linebacker Chris Draft toured UAB’s Comprehensive Cancer Center, which is currently under construction.

Seeing one of the nation’s leading cancer research and treatment centers in transition is just what someone like Draft would want to see.

Chris and his wife Lakeasha Rutledge Draft created “Team Draft” less than one year ago, during Keasha’s battle with lung cancer. The organization was started in hopes that her fight to live would give hope atnd comfort others around the world. They came up with the idea during their wedding, in which she was in a wheelchair and had to use oxygen.

Keasha passed away on December 27th, 2011, just one month after the couple married. She was 38 and a non-smoker.

With an ipad in hand, Chris Draft walked the halls of the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center with its director Edward Partridge, removing the pink cover from the ipad each time the group stopped to take a photo reveiling a picture of his vibrant wife.

With his wife still by his side, Draft continues to fight. He has been touring cancer centers around the world to help encourage patients, doctors and researchers to continue the fight.

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Team Draft honored at the 33rd Annual Drum Major for Justice Awards

Wednesday, April 4th, 2012

April 4, 2012 (Atlanta, GA) – Former NFL Linebacker Chris Draft and Founder of the Chris Draft Family Foundation will be honored tonight at the 33rd Annual Drum Major for Justice Awards Dinner in downtown Atlanta on in recognition of the Foundation’s health awareness efforts.

The awards ceremony, the signature event of the SCLC/W.O.M.E.N. Inc., is held annually on the anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s assassination to mark the passing of one of the world’s great leaders, and to inspire others to carry on Dr. King’s spirit and legacy through service and leadership.  The awards ceremony recognizes individuals and organizations who are accomplished barrier-breaking servant leaders – present day “Drum Majors” – who embody and perpetuate Dr. King’s legacy and spirit.  This year’s honorees include Samuel L. Jackson, Sean Penn, and Al Sharpton.