Posts Tagged ‘Chris Draft’

Team Draft Co-founder Chris Draft Sits Down With CNN’S Don Lemon

Sunday, November 18th, 2012

Joe Melcher of Patterson California shared his late wife, Sandy, of 32 years battled Staged 4 lung cancer for 17 months.

Frank Halden of Craftsbury Vermont shared “I saw your story on CNN this evening. I would like to congratulate you for your effort. I too lost my wife to lung cancer almost 10 years ago and since then I have been working to help find a cure. Please go to my web site and take a look. This is a team effort and I thank you for your participation. Please go Keep up the great work.”

Jim Capristo of Tunkhannock Pennsylvania shared “Sir just saw your interview on CNN sat 11-17-12. My wife Cindy passed away December 25, 2008 at 5.30am. I helped her lead the fight. I took her to Sloan Kettering the best cancer treatment center in the north. With lung cancer being the slowest painful death, lung cancer sucks. It took my wife. Yes, she smoked like a chimney. She did it her way and would not hear it any other way. We were together almost 12 years. God bless you Chris and all who suffer with this terrible sickness which does not care who you are how, much money you have or you’re age as well as the families who deal with this terrible sickness too.”

Alan Rader of Dauphin Pennsylvania stated “I’m writing to you Chris because I am so inspired with your story. I was diagnosed with stage 3 lung cancer in June, 2009. It was inoperable due to its location and the involvement with my spine at the T1 vertebra. I was treated with the newest forms of highly targeted radiation and the heavy hitters of chemotherapy. The tumor shrunk, died and became a chunk of scar tissue that remains. I go back to the treatment center for periodic scans, blood work and visits with all the team members who took part in this successful journey. Living with the threat of a recurrence and adjusting to the new normal over these past 3-1/2 years has not always been a walk in the park. I have found great solace in meeting other survivors with all sorts of cancers and have a particular affinity with my fellow lung cancer survivors. I have become friends with many and know the pain of losing people we have all befriended. I know that they are all still among us and will remain in our hearts forever. I have and continue to feel every emotion that accompanies this type of diagnoses. True joy is always available in the company of all those who have been affected by this most wicked killer. Lung cancer changed my life dramatically and now I know it has been for the better. I am proud to be able to join you Chris in all your efforts to raise awareness and funding for research to help find answers for all those who suffer now and will in the future. Every survivor’s story is very important to hear and I admire your ability to use your platform to further this cause. I am sorry for the loss of your beautiful wife and am inspired by your efforts to make sure her loss in the end will benefit many.”

C.R. Evans of Malaoff Texas shared “I have been cancer free for 8 years, 6 months and 15 days! Every day is a new day and a new life. To be told you have lung cancer is about the worst thing that can happen yet I am a survivor.”

Lois Girt of Anderson Indiana stated “After having surgery for colorectal cancer in 2007 in 2008 I was diagnosed with stage four lung cancer. I started chemo and stayed on chemo until May of this year when my doctor suggested I try this new radio surgery. It is a machine that is able to concentrate radiation doses on the tumor while minimizing exposure to surrounding healthy tissue. I had five treatments that lasted for one hour each time. I am now in remission. I was listening to CNN and heard your story. I took the treatment at St. Vincent Cancer Center Indianapolis.”

Tricia & Serafino Giambattista of Niagara Falls New York shared “We just watched you on CNN and I am so happy you are standing up for your wife and all Lung Cancer Survivors!” Tricia also stated her husband is a stage 4 Adenocarcinoma Lung Cancer Survivor which was diagnosed on 7/1/11. After 6 rounds of chemo his tumors shrunk 80%. He was then able to have radiation after 30 days. They have been fundraising for Relay For Life for 6 years. This year they had a Prayer Vigil for Lung Cancer Survivors at Church and held a workout fundraiser for Lung Cancer and presented the money at the Breath of Life Celebrate at Roswell Park Cancer Inst. of Buffalo NY, where we go and also spoke on behalf of caretakers. That money was given for funding for early detection. We have pushed to have articles in our local paper and Serafino’s interview was on YNN and Channel 4 of Buffalo NY. Just to see you and hear your story had us in tears. We have so many people wearing pearls and white this month and our local Jeweler turn his store White for November and is teaming up with Roswell for Lung Cancer. We would love to help in any way we can. Chris, you are the Angel of Lung Cancer Survivors, Caretakers and the Angel we have been waiting for, Thank-you and God Bless.”

Rosemary Stone of Easley South Carolina shared “I am a Stage III lung cancer survivor. My sister Margie was diagnosed in 1993 and died within 8 months. My other sister Kathleen was diagnosed in 1994 and died 16 months later. Our only brother Ted, was diagnosed at autopsy, both lungs were full of cancer with metastasis throughout his body. I was diagnosed in Sept. 2008 with a lesion on my right lung and lymph node outside the lung. I have been fighting this disease in honor of my siblings and all who have died from lung cancer. I want desperately to increase the public’s awareness without judgment as to association to smoking. The lack of symptoms prior to end stage carcinoma are nearly nonexistent and the death rates speak for themselves. We must continue to get the word out. With awareness and early detection we can survive.”

Janet Maloof of Sanford North Carolina shared “In 2001 my husband was throwing me an early birthday party during the summer (my birthday is November). He had over 100 people there from my childhood on up. I was sick as a dog on my second course of antibiotics for bronchitis. The day before the NP at my Family Care Physicians office asked me to get a chest x-ray over the weekend to see if there was any pneumonia or something going on. Sunday the day after the party I went to the local hospital for the x-ray. On Tuesday, my doctor’s day off, he called and wanted David and I to stop up to see him as soon as we could that morning. That is when I received the diagnosis of Lung Cancer. On Friday I went for a biopsy (chance of having to spit my sternum to get it) I came out with just a small slice because it had spread to the lymph nodes in my neck. The surgeon explained that it was small cell lung cancer and he would let my oncologist explain the rest when I saw him on Monday. I got the news and the fact that the Mortality rate was 93%; I told the doctor I would change that. Well, it turned out it was small cell lung and lymph node which was wrapped around the pulmonary artery of my heart. This explained my consistently rising blood pressure and the discussion of blood pressure medication. My cancer was inoperable due to the wrapping of the artery and the location. I was treated with Chemo and Radiation at the same time (talk about felling like you have been run over by a bus). Several times I was hospitalized for IV therapy for different reasons. I lost my hair, which didn’t bother me, and on I went. Thanksgiving had always been at our house and I had always done all the cooking and preparation. This year they convinced me to let them do all the work (we averaged 35 people for dinner) I agreed only if I could still help somehow. Dinner was great, not that I ate, but the houseful was wonderful. I had strong family support and a husband like the rock of Gibraltar, but most of all I had been raised with and continued into adulthood with a strong belief in God. After they felt they had all the Cancer obliterated they then did radiation to my brain with each passing year causes more short term memory problems. When I reached my 5yr the doctor hugged me and said that I was not supposed to be one of the four of us treating for lung cancer at the time, but I was. I told him he was a great doctor with the most incredible staff but that the ULTIMATE PHYSICIAN (God) made the decision. Seems he wasn’t done with me yet and as it turned out I have had to help with raising my grandchildren. If I can say one thing, don’t ever give up hope. Also, talk about what is going on. I educated every visitor I had about my disease and the treatment. Today as soon as I hear someone has Cancer I give the person who told me my personal business card to be passed on to the patient and tell them if they want to talk call me. It is now 11 years and I was so happy to see this on CNN tonight and find out there was a group out there. These past two weeks I have been talking to my friends about researching how to start something for Lung Cancer.”

Team Draft Visits GHS Cancer Center

Sunday, August 12th, 2012

Augusta, GA — Former Falcons and Panthers linebacker Chris Draft had some struggles on the field as a journeyman in the NFL. He played for 7 teams in 12 seasons including the Atlanta Falcons and Carolina Panthers. But it was nothing compared to what he faced shortly after retiring.
This December, his wife Keisha died of lung cancer, just one month after the two were married.

Now Draft spends his time traveling around the country raising awareness about lung cancer and also hopefully lifting the spirits of those battling the deadly disease.

On Friday, Draft paid a visit to the GHS Cancer Center in Augusta. He says he hopes the patients can try to find some joy in their lives despite what they’re going through.

Team Draft is leading a National Campaign to Change the Face of Lung Cancer, and has visited over 45 Centers across the United States, and Canada. Our blog, The Draft Report is our way of sharing the stories of the amazing doctors and researchers who are working diligently to save lives, and improve the chances of people affected by cancer. Please help us continue the FIGHT! Respond! IT TAKES A TEAM TO TACKLE LUNG CANCER!

Changing the Face of Lung Cancer

Thursday, July 19th, 2012

His goal is changing the face of lung cancer. Former NFL linebacker Chris Draft is logging thousands of miles to reach that goal. Draft is traveling to cancer centers across the country to learn everything he can about the disease that took the love of his life. Despite his loss, Draft’s message is about people living and fighting lung cancer. People like his wife.
Keasha Draft was diagnosed with advance stage non-small cell lung cancer in December 2011. A year later, in December 2012, she passed away. Since her death, Chris Draft shares her story to keep her memory alive and to dispel the myths about lung cancer. Keasha Draft was 38-years-old and, like approximately 20 percent of those diagnosed with lung cancer, never smoked a cigarette.
When he arrived on the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus in July, Draft was well versed on the challenges involved in early detection, the molecular testing of lung tumors, targeted therapies and the leading edge research conducted by University of Colorado Cancer Center investigators.
What he found at CU Cancer Center is lung cancer survivors and hope. He met Ellen Smith, who got another chance at life by participating in a clinical trial for people with anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) positive non-small cell lung cancer. Smith told Draft about her life since her diagnosis. She has traveled, gained precious time with her family, become a grandmother again and even gotten married. Draft encourages lung cancer survivors like Smith to tell their stories.
“Lung cancer doesn’t have a face and if it does, it’s a cigarette,” said Draft. “But things are changing. People need to see people with lung cancer living.”
Draft wants to change the face of lung cancer. He wants people to know it is the number one cancer killer in the United States. He wants to spread the word that lung cancer kills more people than breast, prostate, colon, liver, kidney and skin cancer combined.
Draft’s stop at CU Cancer Center was the 40th in his tour of cancer centers across the country. He wants to share Keasha’s story of living for each day to inspire others so “they can be energized regardless how long they have. They are living.”


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.

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.

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