Thought I would share this press release with you. This ongoing story is near and dear to my heart. You may remember the beginning of this story from November of last year when former NFL player Chris Draft married his Sweetheart Keasha Rutledge Draft and she passed exactly a month later from lung cancer. Keasha never smoked. Their extremely beautiful wedding video went viral and touched America. Well, long story short Team Draft was formed at the wedding and Chris is determined to change the face of lung cancer through his National Campaign to Change the Face of Lung Cancer. Below is a press release of his actions at the Falcons vs. Panthers game on Sunday. I will be journaling his story in the months to come as we approach his wedding anniversary in November and his journey in the months after to document the efforts of TEAM Draft.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 29, 2012
Contact: Steven Fuller, firstname.lastname@example.org
Team Draft Installs First Lung Cancer Plate In The Country:
In Georgia, Lung Cancer Matters
Atlanta, GA (September 29, 2012) – This week, the State of Georgia made history when it became the first state in the nation to issue lung cancer-specific license plates . . . and Team Draft was there. On Tuesday, September 25th, Team Draft co-founder and former Atlanta Falcon, Chris Draft, installed the first lung cancer plate on Jackie Archer’s car—a poignant moment for both Chris and Jackie. Late last year, Chris lost his wife, Keasha, to lung cancer, and through the Chris Draft Family Foundation’s Team Draft initiative, he is leading a National Campaign to Change the Face of Lung Cancer. Archer, a lung cancer survivor, was the driving force behind the plates. On April 16th, Draft and Archer stood next to Georgia Governor Nathan Deal as he signed HB 732 into law, authorizing the plates.
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. Yet, despite the fact that between 20,000 and 30,000 people who have never smoked—including Keasha and Jackie—are diagnosed with lung cancer in the United States each year, the smoking stigma negatively impacts lung cancer research funding, which pales in comparison to funding for other major cancers and diseases. Team Draft is out to change all that. “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,” explains Draft.
Since Chris and Keasha launched Team Draft at their wedding in November of last year, Team Draft has been on a mission to tackle cancer. Team Draft’s national campaign to raise public awareness and share the hope that now exists for people diagnosed with the disease has taken it to 50 of the top cancer research and treatment facilities in the North America.
Like Keasha, Jackie Archer was non-smoker when she was diagnosed with Stage III Lung Cancer six years ago when a chest x-ray she received after a car accident revealed a mass in her lung. Thankfully, Jackie survived, and today she is a tireless lung cancer advocate.
On Sunday, September 30th, Jackie will join Team Draft at the Georgia Dome when the Atlanta Falcons take on the Carolina Panthers to celebrate Georgia’s historic lung cancer license plates. In Georgia lung cancer matters!
The Facts About Lung Cancer
For decades, the facts regarding lung cancer have been sobering:
- Anyone can get lung cancer.
- Over 60% of lung cancers are diagnosed in people who never smoked or in former smokers.
- Lung cancer surpassed breast cancer as the #1 cancer killer for women in 1987.
- Lung cancer kills more people than any other cancer, and takes more lives than breast, cervical, and prostate cancers . . . combined.
- The five year survival rate for lung cancer is just 16%—a rate that has changed very little since the 1970’s.
But now there is HOPE! The use of state-of-the-art lung cancer screening techniques is reducing mortality rates by 20% 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 extent and, ultimately, save lives. The key to making even greater strides is funding, but funding for lung cancer research is impacted by the “smoker’s disease” stigma. That’s why Team Draft is campaigning to change the face of lung cancer.
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 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 awareness, research, and scholarship and to save lives by changing the face of lung cancer. Team Draft is dedicated to raising awareness, accelerating research for a cure, and giving hope, comfort, and inspiration to the patients, caregivers, and healthcare providers who are battling the disease every day. To learn more about Team Draft, share your story, and respond and donate, please visit www.teamdraft.org. You can follow the national campaign to change the face of lung cancer on our blog at www.thedraftreport.net, and don’t forget to “Like” us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/TeamDraft. To order your own lung cancer license plate visit www.lungcancerlicenseplate.org.
 Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Women’s Health Policy & Advocacy Program, Out of the Shadows: Women and Lung Cancer (2010), at 4.
 American Cancer Society, Cancer Facts & Figures 2011, at 15.
 Out of the Shadows, at 4.
 Cancer Facts & Figures, at 16; Out of the Shadows, at 9; American Cancer Society, Cancer Statistics 2009: A Presentation From the American Cancer Society, at 22.
 Cancer Facts & Figures, at 15.
 Out of the Shadows, at 14.
 Id., at 17-18, 20.