Former NFL Linebacker Chris Draft to be Honored at 33rd Annual Drum Major For Justice Awards
April 04, 2011
April 4, 2012 (Atlanta, GA) – Former NFL Linebacker Chris Draft and Founder of the Chris Draft Family Foundation (the “Foundation”) will be honored at the 33rd Annual Drum Major for Justice Awards Dinner in downtown Atlanta on Wednesday night 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.
This award comes on the heels of the first legs of a national lung cancer awareness campaign in support of Team Draft, a Foundation initiative committed to tackling cancer by changing the face of lung cancer, the disease that claimed the life of Chris’ late wife, Keasha, last December. In just the last two months alone, the campaign has taken Team Draft to 18 of the top cancer research and treatment facilities in the country, including:
· The National Cancer Institute;
· Harvard’s Dana-Farber Cancer Institute;
· Johns Hopkins University’s Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center;
· University of Texas’ MD Anderson Cancer Center; and
· UCLA’s Johnson Comprehensive Cancer Center.
In working to raise lung cancer awareness and research dollars, Team Draft continues the work of a crusade Chris and Keasha started more than a year ago. Keasha, a non-smoker, was diagnosed with Stage IV Lung Cancer when she went to her doctor after noticing a slight shortness of breath a few days earlier. Despite her 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.
Team Draft, an initiative of the Chris Draft Family Foundation, 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 killer 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.
“Lung cancer came into our house, and it took my wife. Too many families are affected by this horrible disease. It’s time to respond,” said Draft. He went on to explain, “That’s why Keasha and I launched Team Draft. She wanted to be an inspiration to those battling the disease and we wanted to raise awareness so that other families wouldn’t have to go through what we went through.” Draft continued, “We are honored to be among this year’s Drum Major for Justice award recipients, and be recognized for the work we are doing. We thank the SCLC/W.O.M.E.N. for giving us another opportunity to challenge people to help us change the face of lung cancer by joining Team Draft in our fight by supporting our national campaign to raise public awareness.”
Call to Action
Team Draft is challenging communities across the country to support its national public awareness campaign by donating and using social media sites such as facebook and Twitter to help spread the word that anyone can get lung cancer—even non-smokers like Keasha. To learn more about Team Draft and to respond and donate in support of Team Draft’s national lung cancer awareness campaign, please visit www.teamdraft.org.
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 primary 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 cancer awareness, research, and scholarship, and to saving lives by changing the face of lung cancer. 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. To learn more about Team Draft, please visit www.teamdraft.org.