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The tragic passing of LaKeasha Rutledge, who married NFL player Chris Draft, has touched many hearts all over the country.

The couple got married on November 27, 2011, but their marriage came to a quick end when she died from stage 4 lung cancer only a month later on December 27.

DETAILS: So Sad! Former NFL Baller Loses His Wife To Cancer One Month After Wedding

Chris has struggled with the loss of the love of his life, and he has been trying to find a cure through his organization Team Draft.

In an interview with Essence, Chris remembers his wife, and shares with us some memories of LaKeasha, what people can do to help, and what he believes she would want for him.

DETAILS: Chris Draft’s Last Words To His Beloved Wife Keasha

Check out 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.

To read the entire interview go to Essence mag. 

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Chris and LaKeasha’s family. It’s great to see him coming out strong from this tragedy.

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