Keasha Rutledge-DraftIf ever a story could be both a fairy tale and a nightmare, it’s the one Chris Draft is living right now. The former NFL linebacker met and fell in love with Lakeasha Rutledge, anticipating spending the rest of his life with her. When she was diagnosed with lung cancer, they pushed through her illness together, tackling life in sickness just like they planned to in health.

They married on November 27 in Atlanta. Terminal illness didn’t rob Keasha of her radiance. She was fabulous as she was wheeled down the aisle, then insisted on walking the last few steps to meet her groom at the altar to exchange their vows.

The Drafts were married for exactly one month before Keasha succumbed to the cancer that had drained her body, but not her spirit. On New Year’s Eve, when other folks were celebrating an incoming new year, her husband and family were celebrating her. Their wedding video will melt you to tears. 

I started pulling out Kleenex around the 25-second mark:



Strong is too pale, too shallow, and too small of a word to describe Keasha’s vibrancy,” Draft said in a tribute to his wife, who was just 38 when she passed. “Quite simply, she was ferocious. She fiercely held onto life and love with a forcefulness that was absolutely awe-inspiring and completely breathtaking. Rest in peace, Mrs. Draft.”

Wow.

A video montage of Keasha’s life makes it obvious that she sparkled with personality and shows how, even though they’d only been married a mere 30 days, they’d experienced the joy of genuine love. That’s priceless.  

The Draft’s family foundation, which works to impart the importance of healthy lifestyles, character development, and physical fitness to young people, has posted condolences and remembrances of Keasha on Facebook. I certainly extend mine to her husband, her parents, and all of the family and friends who obviously adored her.

This is just another heartbreaking reminder of how cancer sneaks in to devastate and interrupt everybody’s lives in some form or fashion. Have you ever helped a loved one through their diagnosis or lost someone to the disease?


Image via Chris Draft Family Foundation