Former NFL quarterback Boomer Esiason recorded a congratulatory video message for Sports Illustrated's December High School Athlete of the Month, Kate Marshall.
The message was played at a ceremony honoring Marshall with the award on Thursday.
Marshall was diagnosed with the genetic disorder cystic fibrosis at eight months old, the same disorder that Esiason's 23-year-old son Gunnar has. It is a rare, life-threatening disorder that causes the lungs to fill up with mucus and also affects the digestive system.
Marshall, who is 15, attends York High School in Maine, where she plays both soccer and lacrosse in addition to playing soccer year-round on a club team. She attends physical therapy twice a day and became a starter on the varsity team at York this year.
Her father, Patrick, credits Esiason for inspiring him to dedicate his professional life to finding ways to bring drugs to market that can cure life-threatening diseases such as cystic fibrosis.
Gunnar Esiason played both football and lacrosse in high school and graduated from Boston College in 2013. He is currently the offensive coordinator coach at Friends Academy on Long Island, New York and keeps a blog about his experiences living with CF.
In 1993, Gunnar, then two-and-a-half, appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated with Boomer to raise awareness about cystic fibrosis:
- Molly Geary