Former Falcon highlights the changing face of lung cancer

11:06 AM, Nov 28, 2013   |    comments
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Former Falcon Chris Draft hosted Samantha Mixon and her daughter on the sidelines of the Falcons home game against the New Orleans Saints. Draft lost his wife to lung cancer. Mixon was diagnosed last year.

ATLANTA -- Former Atlanta Falcon Chris Draft is teaming up with cancer patients and survivors to bring more attention and resources to lung cancer, the deadliest type of cancer for both men and women.

"Because the numbers are such that we need help," Draft said. "We need a lot of help so that we can change a survival rate that's 16, 17 percent."

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Last week, he hosted Samantha Mixon and her daughter on the sidelines of the Falcons home game against the New Orleans Saints.

Mixon, who is originally from Jonesboro, was diagnosed with stage four lung cancer last November.

"I'm doing well, everything's shrinking, so we hope to keep it that way," she said.

Mixon met Draft through her outreach efforts at Piedmont Atlanta Hospital.

In 2011, he started Team Draft with his wife Keasha, who died of lung cancer one month after their wedding.

"The real deal is anyone can get lung cancer, like my wife, who was 37 years old and healthy and never smoked," Draft said.

Samantha is 34 years old and never smoked. 

"Thankfully, research led to the targeted therapy we needed," she said. "More research is needed so we can live longer."

A new drug called Tarceva has helped Samantha, but she recently started radiation.

In a recent blog about her battle, Samantha wrote this: "We were originally told my prognosis would be 12 - 18 months. That 12 months is up on Wednesday and I think I've come a long way....thanks to our awesome God and some great doctors!"

Draft has committed to hosting a lung cancer patient or survivor at an NFL game every week this season. 

It's part of his goal to raise awareness and money for research.

To learn more about Team Draft, click here.

...and committed to hosting lung cancer survivors at NFL games all season.

((5:50)) "thankfully, research led to the targeted therapy we needed. More research is needed so we can live longer."

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