Gunnar and Boomer Esiason. Photo: ©2010 The Boston Globe.When Gunnar was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis (CF) in 1993, his dad, football star and former Cincinnati Bengal Boomer Esiason, knew he would not be sitting on the sidelines as his son battled this debilitating disease. 

Back then, most patients with CF didn’t survive past 18 years old. But, Boomer had other plans for Gunnar, so he began his mission to help improve treatments, extend life expectancy and, ultimately, find a cure for cystic fibrosis. 

For more than 10 years, the Boomer Esiason Foundation (BEF) has partnered with Cincinnati Children’s to find better treatments for Gunnar and kids like him all over the world. Recently, the foundation made a commitment of $1 million to establish the Cystic Fibrosis Training and Education Center for Allied Health. This latest gift brings the foundation’s total investment in CF care, research and education at Cincinnati Children’s to more than $5 million. 

The investment is paying off. Today, the life expectancy for patients with CF has doubled and outcomes for patients with CF at Cincinnati Children’s are among the best in the country. And we’re continuing to set the bar higher. In fact, Cincinnati Children’s John P. Clancy, MD, was a lead investigator in a study that led to the development of a new drug that is the first to treat the underlying causes of CF. 

A devoted dad, Boomer is dedicated to changing the game in this fight so his son can have a healthy future and a full life. Today, Gunnar is a recent graduate of Boston College who continues to stay active by coaching youth football and hockey teams, as well as playing hockey with his dad. His next challenge is the LSATs as he plans to head to law school next year. 

“I only want what every other parent wants for their child,” Boomer says. “And that’s for them to live a happy and fulfilling life.” It is because of their hard work and advocacy that Boomer, Gunnar and the Boomer Esiason Foundation will be honored at our annual black-tie gala event, the Celestial Ball. 

Proceeds from the 2014 gala on June 21 will help continue the Esiason family’s legacy of partnership with Cincinnati Children’s – allowing us to change the outcome for more patients and families battling this devastating disease.