ATLANTA, Feb. 1, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- The American Cancer Society today announced that nationally recognized health care advocate and former NFL linebacker, Chris Draft, will be representing the Society as an Advantage Humans™ ambassador to raise awareness of, and support for, the Society's vision of a world free from the pain and suffering of cancer.
Chris Draft joins the Society's fight against cancer as the organization continues to roll out its new public awareness campaign, Advantage Humans™, which puts people – and the collective power of our humanity – at the center of a shift to redefine victory over cancer.
Draft, who is featured in the Advantage Humans™ campaign as the emotion of tenacity, is part of the Society's new effort to highlight how individual actions (whether through innovative research to stop cancer in its tracks, a ride to treatment, fundraising or empathetic support available 24/7) made from the heart with tenacity, courage, determination and generosity mean that more people are surviving cancer today than dying from it, finally giving humans the advantage.
"Everyone who has made the commitment to stand up and fight this horrible disease represents one of these character traits – traits that can be summed up in a single word," explained Draft. "For me and for my wife Keasha, that word is 'tenacity.' Having played in the NFL for more than a decade, I know the tenacity it takes to win on the football field, but that is nothing compared to what it takes to beat cancer."
Draft's wife, Keasha, an electrical engineer and former Charlotte Hornets dancer, died of lung cancer at age 38 in December 2011, just one month after their wedding. Her only symptom was shortness of breath while training to run a 10-kilometer event. Despite immediately going to the doctor and never having smoked, she was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer that had already spread to her brain. Knowing all too well the long odds they faced, Keasha and Chris made a promise to each other to do everything in their power to fight cancer.
Since Keasha's passing, Draft has kept that promise by becoming a cancer advocate – fighting for national health legislation, funding for research, recognition and care for caregivers, and enabling others touched by cancer to tell their stories – always using his athlete status to help raise awareness.
"I'm honored to be an ambassador for the American Cancer Society to help put an end to this horrible disease," Draft said. "Our goal is to change the face of cancer. Anybody can get cancer, and to get out in front of it, we've got to come together and tell our stories, raising the awareness and the funds that allow us to continue making advances in prevention and ultimately, find more cures and save more lives."
Draft, a former Carolina Panther, will be kicking off his role as an Advantage Humans™ Ambassador at Super Bowl 50 in San Francisco where his former team will take on the Denver Broncos. There, he will be talking about the American Cancer Society's mission to free the world from the pain and suffering of cancer and how our humanity is giving us the advantage.
Christ Draft was a linebacker in the NFL from 1998 to 2010, suiting up for the Chicago Bears, San Francisco 49ers, Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, St. Louis Rams, Buffalo Bills and the Washington Redskins. Draft played college football for Stanford University.
About the American Cancer Society The American Cancer Society is a global grassroots force of 2.5 million volunteers saving lives threatened by every cancer in every community. As the largest voluntary health organization, the Society's efforts have contributed to a 22 percent decline in cancer death rates in the U.S. since 1991, and a 50 percent drop in smoking rates. We're the nation's largest private, not-for-profit investor in cancer research, ensuring people facing cancer have the help they need and continuing the fight for access to quality health care, lifesaving screenings, clean air, and more. For more information, to get help, or to join the fight, call us anytime, day or night, at 1-800-227-2345 or visit cancer.org.