Atlanta Draft Day® Holds Special Meaning for Atlanta Resident

July 03, 2009

Atlanta Draft Day® Holds Special Meaning for Atlanta Resident
Atlanta Draft Day® Holds Special Meaning for Atlanta Resident

Two years ago, Canveta Burke-Wilcher found herself at a crossroads.
As a result of a generally unhealthy lifestyle, Ms. Burke, as she is affectionately known to her collegues, suffered from both diabetes and asthma and found herself weighing over 350 pounds.

She was in need of a lifestyle change. That change came in the form of Draft Family Fitness Day.

“While attending the Draft Day® festivities, I learned a great deal about becoming physically fit and  healthier by incorporating exercise into my daily activities, eating low-cost, healthier prepared meals, drinking more water and most of all how to relieve stress and tension,” Ms. Burke said. “I committed to the Play60 Health & Fitness initiative by choosing to walk and or lightly jog at least 60 minutes a day.”

That commitment stuck with Ms. Burke throughout the next two years, and it still making an impact in her life today. The 39-year-old mother of five has lost almost 100 pounds and has significantly decreased the amount of daily insulin she needs to control her diabetes.

“I owe it all to that one time life changing experience, Draft Day®,” Ms. Burke said.

Ms. Burke’s change certainly wasn’t easy, but her commitment didn’t waiver. She knew she had to completely change her lifestyle and stuck with it, even though the pounds didn’t come off the scale as quickly as she wanted them to.

She had to break several unhealthy habits. She added exercise to her daily routine, power walking around Atlanta’s Cheney Stadium for an hour, five times per week. She substituted water for sugary sodas and cut out many of the fried foods and candy that she frequently consumed, which are some of the lessons taught to the participants of Draft Family Fitness Day.

“I saw myself in an early grave once I was educated about the causes of high blood pressure, childhood and adult obesity and the fact that I am a diabetic as a result of weight gain,” Ms. Burke said. “All of this prompted me to make a drastic lifestyle change.  I simply wanted to be around to see my kids grow up.”

Draft Family Fitness Day, or Draft Day® for short, is the signature event for Chris Draft and the Chris Draft Family Foundation. The event centers on teaching families how to lead healthier lifestyles through nutrition and fitness lessons.

Ms. Burke took the ideas presented at the 2007 Draft Family Fitness Day, which took place at the NFL Youth Education Town Boys and Girls club where she works, and ran with them. Not only did she attempt to change her lifestyle, but the lives of her children, Robert age 24, Phillip age 19, Brendaysha age 18, Aleshay age 17 and DeMarco age 13, as well.

“Draft Day means a great deal to me because it’s a way to inform and impact the world one community or city at a time,” Ms. Burke said. “They don’t charge the people in the community and they truly care about the health and welfare of all children, adults and families as a whole.”

Although her quest is not over, Ms. Burke’s experience with Draft Family Fitness Day has allowed her to put a greater focus on another goal in her life, singing. One of Burke’s dreams is to become a solo artist, and if she continues to work toward that like she’s worked toward losing weight, she might just be the next American Idol.

“Thank you, Chris Draft, for bringing the Draft Day® event to Atlanta,” Ms. Burke said. “It truly made a difference in my life.”