Upstage Lung Cancer

Using performing arts to raise awareness and funding for lung cancer research

Announcing 2016 Fan Award Recipient

Chris Draft with his wife
Each year, Upstage Lung Cancer has bestowed our “Fan Award” on an individual or organization whose efforts have shown exceptional leadership in the area of lung cancer. It could be for the courage to speak out and raise awareness, for advocacy, or for conducting research leading to new methods of early detection and identification of lung cancer.

This year, we are privileged to announce that the 2016 recipient of the Upstage Lung Cancer “Fan Award” is: Chris Draft, of Team Draft!

On November 27, 2011, former 12-year veteran NFL star Chris Draft married the love of his life, professional dancer Keasha Rutledge, in an intimate and beautiful wedding ceremony surrounded by loved ones. In fact, Team Draft was launched on Chris and Keasha’s wedding day. Exactly one month later, on December 27, at age 38, she died. Chris sat by her side as she took her last breaths. He was inspired and determined to create Team Draft with the goal to change the face of lung cancer. “We want people to see that anybody can get lung cancer.” Draft shares Upstage Lung Cancer’s views that we must find a way to identify lung cancer earlier. “My wife was this strong, healthy woman, who was all of a sudden short of breath. If she was diagnosed at Stage 3, instead of 4, it could have increased her chances of survival. We’re going to celebrate her life and the type of person she was and we want others to grab hold of her spirit and make a difference. Keasha didn’t smoke, she was a dancer, she was fit, and she was healthy.” Chris Draft uses his accomplishments in the world of sports to build a community of awareness and advocacy for lung cancer. This is an inspiration to Upstage Lung Cancer, and we are honored to present him with ULC’s 2016 Fan Award as we strive to build the same awareness community using the performing arts.