November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month and former NFL linebacker and international health care advocate, Chris Draft, is marking the occasion by kicking off Team Draft’s third annual Lung Cancer Survivors Super Bowl Challenge. This unique fund raising challenge gives lung cancer survivors the opportunity to raise funds for public awareness and cutting-edge research that is giving new hope to those battling this often misunderstood disease. The survivor who raises the most money will join Team Draft at the Super Bowl in Houston, Texas. The runner-up will receive a trip to the 2017 Pro Bowl in Orlando. The third place finisher will join Team Draft at the 26th Annual Taste of the NFL.
Founded by Draft and his late wife Keasha , who died of lung cancer in 2011 at the age of 38, Team Draft is dedicated to raising lung cancer awareness and increasing badly needed research funding through its Campaign To Change The Face Of Lung Cancer, which is committed to shattering the misconception that lung cancer is a “smoker’s disease.” The centerpiece of Team Draft’s Campaign is its annual Lung Cancer Survivors Super Bowl Challenge.
As Draft explains, “the Super Bowl Challenge gives us a unique opportunity to use the overwhelming media coverage surrounding the Super Bowl as a platform to raise critical public awareness about lung cancer on an international level. With the game as a backdrop, we can use each survivor’s story to weave a broader narrative about the state of lung cancer and the hope that now exists for those battling the disease.” And Team Draft’s efforts are paying off.
“The Super Bowl Challenge achieves amazing things in terms of public awareness and changing perceptions about lung cancer,” says Dr. Ross Camidge, the Director of Thoracic Oncology at Colorado University Cancer Center, the cancer center where two of last year’s Super Bowl Challenge winners were treated.
In addition to raising critical public awareness, the Super Bowl Challenge also raises funds for lung cancer organizations and treatment centers across North America. Last year, participants who raised more than $1,000 during the Super Bowl Challenge were able to commit 50% of the funds they raised to a lung cancer organization or cancer center of their choice. Thanks to the overwhelming success of the Super Bowl Challenge, Team Draft is increasing that amount to 80% this year with the remaining 20% going to support its mission to change the face of lung cancer. Of this aspect of the Super Bowl Challenge, Dr. Camidge says, “you need somebody working on the national level. You need somebody working on the local level. Everybody wins.” For the survivors who participate, the Super Bowl Challenge is so much more than just a fundraiser.
“Team Draft has really helped boost our family’s spirits during this challenging time,” says Dr. Lucy Kalanithi. In 2015, Lucy and her husband, Dr. Paul Kalanithi, won Team Draft’s inaugural Super Bowl Challenge and were able to join Team Draft in Phoenix, Arizona for Super Bowl 49. Paul went on to write the bestselling memoir When Breath Becomes Air—a powerful and moving chronicle of his life and lung cancer journey—before passing away at the age of 37.
2016 Super Bowl Challenge winner, Kim Ringen says, “As a lung cancer survivor, I would highly recommend to anybody to put your hat in the ring because it is so uplifting to be associated with a group of people that are coming together to make a difference.”
To learn more about Team Draft’s 2017 Lung Cancer Survivors Super Bowl Challenge, enter the competition or make a donation, visit https://www.crowdrise.com/2017SuperBowlChallenge.