PIQUA — In honor of Lung Cancer Awareness Month and former Assistant Fire Chief Jeff Meckstroth, the city of Piqua invites the community to meet and hear retired NFL player Chris Draft speak at 2:30 p.m. Friday in the city of Piqua Commission Chambers on the second floor of the Municipal Government Complex at 201 W. Water St.
Draft played for the Chicago Bears, San Francisco 49ers, Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, St. Louis Rams, Buffalo Bills, and Washington Redskins, and is the NFL Ambassador/spokesperson for lung cancer.
In 2006, while with the Panthers, Draft met Clemson University grad Keasha Rutledge, a successful pharmaceutical sales executive, former Charlotte Hornets Honeybee dancer and member of Clemson’s Rally Cat dance squad. In November 2010, Keasha was the vision of health and a non-smoker who did P90X and was preparing to run in a 10K race. A shortness of breath led her to see her doctor, who ordered X-rays and discovered a mass in her chest. Additional tests confirmed Stage IV lung cancer.
On Nov. 27, 2011, the pair launched Team Draft at their wedding with the express goal to fight lung cancer. Just one month later, Keasha lost her courageous fight and died at the age of 38.
Jeff Meckstroth was the assistant fire chief for the Piqua Fire Department from June 6, 1999, until his retirement on Sept. 9, 2008. In November 2015, he was diagnosed with Stage 4 non-small-cell adenocarcinoma lung cancer. After genetic tissue testing, it was determined his cancer had a specific anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) mutation, which qualified him for targeted therapies. In terms of having lung cancer, being ALK-positive is very favorable because these therapies significantly improve quality of life.
As part of the G.I.V.E.Initiative (Generosity, Involvement and Volunteerism by Employees), the city of Piqua has teamed with current city of Piqua employee, wife and caregiver Rhonda Meckstroth to help spread awareness of her advocacy group ALK Positive, which is partnered with the national LUNGevity ALK Research Fund. Throughout November, city of Piqua employees will be sporting white ribbons with Jeff Meckstroth’s name on them.
City employees also will come together on Giving Tuesday, Nov. 28, to individually donate toward the LUNGevity ALK Research Fund.
For more information regarding donations and awareness. contact Rhonda Meckstroth at 214-4143 or email@example.com.