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Miami Valley News: NFL Player Visits Piqua, Ohio

Chris Draft, a retired NFL player, recently spoke as part of Lung Cancer Awareness Month in Piqua, Ohio. During his career, Draft played with the Chicago Bears, Atlanta Falcons, San Francisco 49ers, St. Louis Rams, Washington Redskins, Buffalo Bills, and Carolina Panthers. Now, he is the NFL ambassador and spokesperson for lung cancer.

Draft’s Involvement

Lung cancer has been close to Draft’s heart since 2010 when his girlfriend, Keasha Rutledge, developed stage IV lung cancer. She was previously a dancer with the Charlotte Hornets Honeybees, was getting ready to run a 10K, a non-smoker, and in perfect health, so the cancer came as a surprise. Draft and Rutledge began Team Draft at their wedding in 2011 with the goal of fighting lung cancer. Rutledge died a month later at age 38.

Honoring Locals as Well

The Lung Cancer Awareness Month programming also honored Jeff Meckstroth, the former assistant fire chief of the Piqua Fire Department. He retired in 2008 and was diagnosed in late 2015 with stage IV non-small-cell adenocarcinoma lung cancer. His cancer included an ALK (anaplastic lymphoma kinase) mutation, allowing him to qualify for targeted therapies. His wife and caregiver as well as Piqua employee, Rhonda, teamed up with the city of Piqua as part of the Generosity, Involvement, and Volunteerism by Employees (GIVE) Initiative. ALK Positive, her advocacy group, is a partner of the national LUNGevity ALK Research Fund. Throughout the month of November, you likely noticed Piqua employees wearing white ribbons with the name Jeff Meckstroth on them as part of this advocacy.

Paul Sherry is proud to be part of a community that cares so deeply about important causes, such as Lung Cancer Awareness Month.

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