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The one hundred honoree: Chris Draft

Donor Story

The one hundred honoree: Chris Draft

Mass General Giving

Chris Draft has been a member of many teams in his life including the Stanford University football team, the Chicago Bears, the San Francisco 49ers, the Atlanta Falcons, the Carolina Panthers, the St. Louis Rams and the Buffalo Bills. But perhaps most significantly, he’s the leader of Team Draft, an initiative of the Chris Draft Family Foundation established in memory and in honor of his late wife Keasha’s battle with lung cancer.

Keasha was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer in December 2010. A non-smoker, her only symptom was shortness of breath. Keasha lost her battle to lung cancer just weeks after she and Chris were married in November 2011— but Chris and Team Draft work hard every day to keep her legacy alive.

Between 20,000 and 30,000 people who have never smoked, like Keasha, are diagnosed with lung cancer in the United States each year, but the misconception and stigma around the causes of lung cancer negatively impacts funding for lung cancer research. The disease receives lower levels of support than other cancers, but with a rising number of patients, it’s more important than ever to advance research.

Team Draft collects and shares the stories of lung cancer survivors and caregivers across the country, reshaping the social landscape of lung cancer. The stories told by Team Draft’s survivor-advocates help to humanize lung cancer, shoring up the vital resources and community support needed to advance research and combat the disease.

Team Draft’s national campaign has taken Chris to more than 100 of the top cancer research and treatment facilities in North America. Team Draft has worked with the NFL, NHL, NBA, MLB and MLS along with current and former NFL players and fans to raise the profile of lung cancer using social media and other channels.

“Our hope is not only to positively impact research funding, but 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 leading this national campaign to change the face of lung cancer.”