By Staff Report.
Atlanta, GA-Feb.06, 2012– NFL linebacker Chris Draft and the late Keasha Rutledge Draft the co-founders of the Chris Draft Family Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to empowering families through education and healthy living. Draft started his collegiate football career at Stanford University and entered into the NFL upon graduating. Draft has played for the Chicago Bears, San Francisco 49ers, Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, St. Louis Rams, Buffalo Bills and Washington Redskins during the span of his 13-year professional career,
Keasha, who received her electrical engineering degree from Clemson University, passed away on December 27, 2011. It was only one year after being diagnosed with stage four lung cancer, and just thirty days after the two were married in Atlanta, Georgia. All privileged to know Keasha knew her to be a healthy, energetic woman and dancer- that never smoked. Sadly, what happened to Keasha could happen to anyone and the numbers prove 16,000 – 24,000 people die each year from non-smoking lung cancer.
In her honor, her husband launched the Team Draft’s nation-wide effort to Tackle Cancer so that Keasha’s valiant fight to live, smile, and dance will give hope and comfort to people across the world. The Team Draft’s “Changing the Face of Lung Cancer” campaign will raise awareness of lung cancer by shattering misperceptions and raising much-needed funds for continued research and innovation in targeted therapies for personalized treatment in the honor of Keasha and the thousands of people and their families affected by this disease. The official launch on ESPN’s XLVI game day coverage led to a outpouring of support.
Chris Draft will share his wife’s valiant fight by moving forward with an initiative launched at the couple’s wedding by responding with the Team Draft initiative. The campaign strives to raise research funds, supporting Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center offers the latest innovations in lung cancer detection and therapy, including routine genetic testing of tumors as part of the diagnosis procedure and clinical trials of new drugs and treatment.
Clemson has also joined the movement with school-wide support. An undergraduate scholarship at Clemson has been established in celebration of Keasha’s beautiful life and determined spirit. The Keasha Rutledge Draft Memorial scholarship serves to provide an opportunity for Clemson students to further their studies in pursuit of their dreams. “We are committed to changing the face of lung cancer by shattering stereotypes,” says Draft. “It is extremely moving to see the Clemson University community rallying together to honor her legacy. Keasha wanted to inspire people to embrace each day and by remembering to dance, smile and live.”
On Tuesday February 7, 2012 the Rally Cats will be honoring the memory of Keasha Rutledge Draft at the 7 p.m. EST basketball game. Throughout the entire game, the Rally Cats will be wearing pearls and pearl colored ribbons in honor of Keasha, who was a Rally Cats dancer and as a symbol of lung cancer awareness. They will also be dedicating all of their performances throughout the night to Keasha.