Boomer Esiason, the 10th recipient of the Heisman Humanitarian Award, is one of the most successful quarterbacks in NFL history. Drafted out of Maryland by Cincinnati in the second round of the 1984 draft, Esiason was named a four-time pro bowler, the 1988 NFL Most Valuable Player and the Walter Payton Man of the Year in 1995 before retiring after the 1997 season. He guided the Bengals to the 1989 Super Bowl and finished his career with over 37,000 passing yards and 247 touchdown passes. He has been a color analyst during his post-football career, working on every Super Bowl since 2000.
His life changed back in 1993 when, while at mini-camp for the New York Jets that year, Esiason was notified that his two-year-old son, Gunnar, was taken to the hospital with breathing difficulties. The youngster was soon diagnosed with cystic fibrosis, a disease of the respiratory and digestive systems. The Boomer Esiason Foundation (BEF) was formed soon afterward to fund research to find a cure for the disease. “I’m going to be the biggest enemy this disease has ever had,” Boomer said.
In its quest to find that cure, the BEF aims to bring together the brightest researchers and scientists while also providing scholarships, transplant grants, hospital grants, education and increased awareness of cystic fibrosis. The foundation educates people from all walks of life to become committed participants in the ongoing battle against CF and provides students and hospital staffs with the financial resources and educational tools they need to prepare for the challenges of the disease. BEF annually awards the largest number of scholarships to CF students in the country. The foundation, located in New York City, has raised in excess of $115 million over its life span.
For more information, go to the Boomer Esiason Foundation website.