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Former NFL player Chris Draft striving to 'change the face' of lung cancer

Arthur O'Dea
Arthur O'Dea

01:15 24 Jan 2019


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"Nobody wakes up and says, 'I want to be a lung cancer advocate'," Chris Draft explained during Thursday's OTB AM.

A former NFL linebacker who counts upon his former teams the Chicago Bears, San Francisco 49ers and St. Louis Rams, when Draft's life as a professional football player ended, a new sense of purpose instilled itself shortly thereafter.

"I finished up playing in 2010," stated Draft of his spell with the Washington Redskins.

"I thought I had one more year, but my body said no.

"My girlfriend at the time was challenging me to do P90X and run a 10km race, and all of a sudden, she had a little shortness of breath.

"37-years-old, never smoked and in amazing shape, and she had that little shortness of breath."

Within days, an eventuality that had scarcely been considered by Draft and his soon-to-be wife was reached; she had lung cancer.

"Anyone can get lung cancer," Draft assured.

"People say, 'everything I've been told says lung cancer is directly related to smoking and that's the only way it can happen.'

"But unfortunately, anyone can get it."

Revealing how this stark reality only became apparent when it came into his home, Draft is now committed to doing all he can to assure others must not suffer in such tragic circumstances.

"Before she passed, we were able to get married," Draft recalled on this morning's show.

"Before our wedding day, my wife came to me and said, 'what if we don't get presents? What if we ask our family and friends to donate to the [cancer] foundation so we can fight?'

"So, on our wedding day we made two commitments: one to each other, and one to the lung cancer community."

A decision that has informed the direction Draft's life has taken, the former NFL linebacker is now committed to helping others discover the treachorous nature of lung cancer before it is too late.

 

January is the Irish Cancer Society’s lung cancer awareness month. Over 2500 people are diagnosed with lung cancer every year. Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in both sexes, with an estimated average of 1,865 deaths per year.

The Irish Cancer Society is urging the public to be aware of their lung health and asking them to take their online lung health checker to check lung health (available at www.cancer.ie/lung). The checker also includes a downloadable letter which can be taken to a GP to enable a discussion about lung health. Early detection is vital. If a patient is diagnosed earlier, there are more treatment options and a real chance of cure.

Find more information on www.cancer.ie - If anyone watching or listening needs any advice at all… You can call the Cancer Nurseline on 1800 200 700 or drop into one of our 13 Daffodil Centres in hospitals nationwide if you have any questions.

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