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Boomer EsiasonA record-setting NFL quarterback, and now a seasoned radio and TV broadcaster—that’s how most people know Boomer Esiason. But before his fame on and off the gridiron came a tough road for Boomer and his family.

When he was just 7, Boomer’s mother, Irene, who was 37, died of cancer. That left Boomer, his father and his two teenage sisters to create a life for themselves. A three-hour daily commute to work in New York City left Boomer’s father, Norman, with little free time, but he always made sure he supported Boomer, both on and off the field. The family was also forced to rely on friends and relatives, as Boomer’s mother died without life insurance and there was little money left each month to pay for any extra help. “I was handed a life lesson early, growing up with one parent,” says Boomer, “It wasn’t the easiest life—my dad sacrificed a lot.”

Through determination, hard work and the support of his father, Boomer was able to leverage his talent at football to gain a full scholarship to the University of Maryland. He then went on to become one of the most successful quarterbacks in NFL history
during his 14-year career, leaving the game in 1997 in the top 10 of many quarterback career statistical categories.

From the beginning, Boomer has protected his family—wife, Cheryl, and their children, Sydney and Gunnar—with life insurance. And as his career as a radio and TV broadcaster has grown, his life insurance coverage has grown as well. It has become especially important to Boomer, given that Gunnar is fighting cystic fibrosis and will need financial support throughout his life. “Life happens at the most unexpected of times, and life insurance is about protecting the future and the people you love,” he says. “Remember, if something happens and you haven’t done the planning, the people you leave behind will feel the brunt of your mistakes.”

10 Questions for Boomer Esiason

1. Football and life insurance ... it seems like a stretch between the two. Why did you decide to be the spokesperson for Life Insurance Awareness Month this September?
Most people don’t know that I lost my mother to cancer when I was just 7. I was handed a tough life lesson at a very early age. I thought it would be good for other families to learn from what I experienced.

2. How did your mother’s death impact your family?
No one is ever prepared to lose a parent. It really just turns your life upside down and changes things forever. My dad never expected to be working and raising me and my two sisters as a single parent.

3. How would things have been different if your mother had had life insurance?
My dad worked extremely hard, and made a three-hour round-trip commute every day from our home on Long Island to New York City. But the truth is, money was always tight. That meant neighbors and relatives helped us out with things my mother would have taken care of. As kids, we also had to grow up fast and take on more responsibility. If there had been life insurance, we could have hired the help my father needed to keep the household running as my mother had.

4. What did it take to make it all the way to the NFL?
I relied heavily on my dad’s support. He was there for every practice, every game. And while talent certainly comes into play, it just takes a lot of plain old hard work—day in and day out, week in and week out—to reach the top of your game. I also was fortunate to have tremendous coaches who helped me refine my game at each level.

5. You experienced the lack of life insurance firsthand. When did you decide to get your own policy?
I’ve had life insurance since the start of my career, when I was first drafted. I have a beautiful family that I love—my wife, Cheryl, daughter, Sydney, and son, Gunnar—that I’ve protected with life insurance. It’s my responsibility to make sure that if something happens to me, my family will be taken care of financially. I also want to make sure Gunnar, who has cystic fibrosis, never has to worry—that h has a financial landing area if I were to die.

6. You had a stellar 14-year career on the field. Was it hard to transition to the studio?
Change is always hard, but I felt I had accomplished what I wanted to during my time in the NFL, and I was ready for a new challenge. You might not believe it, but there are times when I feel the TV and radio shows demand more of me than those Sunday afternoon games. Plus, my work really extends past the broadcasting I do. I put a tremendous amount of time and effort into raising funds to help find a cure for cystic fibrosis through the Boomer Esiason Foundation. We’ve just reached the $100 million mark for fundraising—that’s something I’m extremely proud of!

7. Congratulations! How’s Gunnar doing?
Great! He just graduated from Boston College, which is an amazing feat and speaks volumes to how far research has come. Twenty years ago, someone with cystic fibrosis wasn’t expected to live past their high-school years. We’ve been blessed as a family.

8. What advice do you have for parents who think they either can’t afford life insurance or think that it’s something they can get later?

I learned at 7 that no one is guaranteed a tomorrow, so I’d probably look them in the eye and say, “Just imagine if something happened to you and you hadn’t done the planning. The people you leave behind will feel the brunt of your mistakes.”

9. We know football holds a special place in your heart, but tell us, what’s your second favorite sport—either to watch or play?
Hockey, for sure! I still love to play it and am a huge Rangers fan—love going to those games.

10. Any parting advice?
I think life insurance is a very important subject to talk about—and not just for those with families. Young people today don’t understand why they need it, so I’ve made a point of talking about it with my daughter, Sydney. She’s 21 and single, but I feel it’s important for her to understand these types of issues and to start taking personal responsibility for her finances and her future. Sitting down and having that conversation is something that all parents can do as their children get older.

(Source: LifeHappens.org)
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