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Former NFL Linebacker Chris Draft Visits the Lurie Cancer Center

Chris Draft, Chicago Bears, Lurie Cancer Center

April 2012

Former NFL linebacker and Chicago Bear, Chris Draft, visited the Lurie Cancer Center to learn more about advances being made in lung cancer research and treatment.

Team Draft, part of the Chris Draft Family Foundation, was created by Chris and his late wife, Keasha, during her year-long struggle with lung cancer. Since Keasha's death last December, Chris has renewed his commitment to saving lives by changing the face of lung cancer; increasing awareness and crucially needed research funding by shattering the misconception that lung cancer is a "smoker's disease."

Chris was not surprised to learn from thoracic oncologist, Jyoti Patel, MD, that 30% of lung cancer patients treated at the Lurie Cancer Center are non-smokers. "Keasha never smoked. The association with smoking makes patients feel guilty, and makes it harder for patients and caregivers to grieve. We were blessed by the strength and love of our family and friends," he adds. "Keasha and I didn't want the stigma to keep other lung cancer patients from receiving support when they need it most."

Chris toured the Lurie Cancer Center, Keasha's iPad in hand, with Dr. Patel, thoracic surgeon, Malcolm DeCamp, MD, radiation oncologist, Minesh Mehta, MD, and Senior Practice Manager, Karen Giammicchio, MSN, APN, AOCNS. In addition, Chris visited the Lurie Cancer Center's inpatient units in Northwestern's Prentice Women's Hospital with Oncology Clinical Nurse Specialist, Barb Gobel, RN, MS, AOCN, and met with Raymond Bergan, MD, to learn about research related to chemoprevention of lung cancer.

At each stop along the way, he took off the cover to show a photo of Keasha, including her in the experience. "The purpose of Team Draft is not just to honor my wife," he said. "It's an extension of her passion and spirit—and of other courageous cancer patients, caregivers and healthcare providers dedicated to making a difference."

Learn more about Chris's outreach on behalf of Team Draft.

(Last updated on June 25, 2013 )