A couple of months ago, we posted an incredibly heart-warming love story about former NFL baller Chris Draft, 35, who lost his wife Keasha Rutledge, 38, to lung cancer one month after they were married.
As a result of the numerous postings around the web about Chris’ emotional experience, ESPN caught wind of the tragedy and published an extended version of this amazing love story.
Also, Draft opened up about losing his wife Keasha and their loving memories.
Check out the video below:
In an exclusive interview with Essence.com, Chris Draft opened about his love for Keasha and their loving memories.
Here is a snippet from the interview below:
ESSENCE.COM: Since your wife’s passing, you’ve shown such strength and shared so much of her life with the world. Why did you choose to share her story in this way?
CHRIS DRAFT: We put the pictures up [online] so people could really see the life in her, not just how she passed away. We want people to see that her faith allowed her to live before her diagnosis, and to continue to live with it, and find the joy in each day. Even when you get bad news, you have to find the joy in life, which is definitely not easy. Most of the pictures in the montage people have seen are from the past year. She was still enjoying her friends, and still enjoying her family. Yes, it was a little different with cancer being there, but at the same time, you find a way to enjoy it. That’s where you’re at, you know?
ESSENCE: You both stayed positive throughout her battle. How were you able to do that, after learning of her diagnosis?
DRAFT: It was never, “Oh, I’m just going to smile through it.” Keasha was like, “I’m going to fight. We’re going to do what we have to do to go after this.” Stage 4 lung cancer is not a good diagnosis. I mean, the numbers are horrible, and to get that news without even having a sign beforehand, makes it that much tougher. She knew she had great friends, and great family, and a great support system, and she said, “Okay, so what do I have to do to fight? We’re going to fight it each and every day.” Getting the full diagnosis, and knowing exactly what we were fighting, was a very hard process. She did such a great job of really looking at it like, “Hey, I have to do this in order to have a chance to be better.” She stuck with that and continued to smile, even after she went to appointment after appointment.
ESSENCE: Was your wedding day everything you dreamed it would be? You both looked so happy in your video.
DRAFT: I wanted her to just be able to really enjoy it. That was my only focus. She was able to get up. She was able to walk. She was able to dance. Dancing was just her. Her 88-year-old grandmother got up at our wedding and she started dancing, and she got Keasha back up and she started dancing too. The weather was perfect. It was 70 degrees on Thanksgiving weekend – wow. It seemed like everything just worked itself out for her. It was so beautiful. Her friends and family were all able to be there. It was a good day — a good weekend.
ESSENCE: If you could send out a message to Keasha this Valentine’s Day, what would you want her to know?
DRAFT: [Long pause.] Keasha, I‘ll always love you. We’re gonna keep fighting. We’re gonna keep fighting! We’re gonna keep inspiring people and help to change people’s lives, I promise.
You can read the full interview over at Essence.com.