In Press Play, we talk with leaders from non-profit organizations about their challenges, their experiences working with the community, and their goals. In this edition, we talked with Gunnar Esiason, Director of Patient Outreach and Board Member at Boomer Esiason Foundation.
NYXT: How did the Boomer Esiason Foundation come to exist? What societal problems are you trying to solve?
Gunnar Esiason: My parents, Boomer and Cheryl Esiason, founded the Boomer Esiason Foundation in 1993 following my diagnosis with cystic fibrosis, a fatal genetic condition. We aim to provide financial and educational resources for people living with cystic fibrosis and their families, while also supporting research for a cure.
NYXT: What have been the main changes throughout the history of the organization?
GE: The Boomer Esiason Foundation has had to grow to adapt to our patient population's changing needs. Initially most of what we raised when solely to clinical support and research, but now we also provide financial aid to families via a scholarship program, disaster relief program and transplant grant program.
NYXT: What are the main resources the Boomer Esiason Foundation relies on?
GE: We rely heavily on charitable contributions so that we can execute our mission and maintain well-funded programs. Ideally, we want donors to become constant supporters as well as becoming advocates who spread awareness about the CF community and the importance of organizations like ours.
NYXT: Does the organization collaborate with other organizations?
GE: Yes! We work alongside the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Cystic Fibrosis Research, Inc., Cystic Fibrosis Lifestyle Foundation, Rock CF Foundation, and Emily's Entourage, among others.
Our athletic division, Team Boomer, also collaborates with organizations like the New York Road Runners and other race organizers across the country to host our own events and to encourage people to run in our charity’s name for races like the NYC Half, NYC marathon, Chicago Marathon, and more!
NYXT: Who are the main recognized professionals that have contributed to the organization?
GE: At BEF, we see ourselves as a team – just like the ones my Dad led as a QB. While each of us has times that we shine, our Foundation doesn’t exist without constant teamwork and support of each other. Fun fact: our President, Dave Rimington, played center under my Dad at the Cincinnati Bengals and has been with BEF since day one!
NYXT: What are some of the organization's recent accomplishments?
GE: The Boomer Esiason Foundation has provided major funding for several cystic fibrosis centers all across the United States, but three in particular - cystic fibrosis centers at Cincinnati Children's Hospital, Columbia University Medical Center, and Morristown Medical Center. The Boomer Esiason Foundation has also contributed to many millions of dollars to cystic fibrosis research, including the CFTR modulator program.
We also lead the way in the number of scholarships we award annually, our transplant grant program, and our various educational podcasts and video series.
NYXT: What are the Boomer Esiason Foundation’s main goals for 2020?
GE: We want to continue providing support for patients and families in the here and now, while also directing resources to additional clinical related challenges that patients are facing.
NYXT: Is there an event or activity that you would like to announce?
GE: People can sign up for the 2019 New York City Marathon at TeamBoomer.org.
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