By Kathy Walsh
DENVER (CBS4) – The teams have yet to be determined, but one Broncos fan already knows she’s going to the Super Bowl. Another will travel to the Pro Bowl. The trips are prizes for being the top two fundraisers for a very personal cause. The women are fighters. Both have been battling lung cancer.
Kim Ringen, a veterinarian oncologist, discovered she had Stage IV lung cancer in 2013 using an ultrasound in her veterinary office. The nonsmoker was five months pregnant.
“We unfortunately had to let our son go in order to fight for my life,” Ringen said choking back tears.
Figure body builder Kathy Weber is also a neonatal nurse practitioner. In 2014, she learned she had lung cancer. She was shocked.
“Considered a never smoker and no family history of it,” Weber said.
Chris Draft is a former NFL linebacker. When he married his wife, Keasha, she was dying of lung cancer although she had never smoked. She had an idea.
“How about we ask people to support the foundation in the fight against cancer instead of having presents?” Draft said.
The result was “Team Draft” and Chris’ Super Bowl Challenge. Lung cancer survivors compete to raise funds for research. The Denver fans scored big. Weber raised more than $8,000 to win second place and a trip to the Pro Bowl. Ringen raised just over $23,000 and earned the top prize, a trip to the Super Bowl.
“Going to the Super Bowl is the cherry on top, but ultimately what’s keeping me alive is research,” said Ringen.
And these survivors hope to change the face of lung cancer.
Weber said, “There’s a stigma to lung cancer being a quote, “smoker’s disease.”
Anyone with lungs can get lung cancer, Ringen added.
Team Draft is dedicated to tackling it. Half of the money raised goes to the Chris Draft Family Foundation. The lung cancer survivor chooses the recipient of the other half.
Weber has designated the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer. Ringen has designated Lung Cancer Colorado Fund.
You can still donate to the 2016 Lung Cancer Survivors Super Bowl Challenge by going to crowdrise.com/LungCancerSurvivorsSuperBowl.