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Forward Progress
L. JON WERTHEIM
July 02, 2007
Fourteen years after he became the poster child for cystic fibrosis, Boomer's son is playing three sports and helping his dad fight for a cure
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July 02, 2007

Forward Progress

Fourteen years after he became the poster child for cystic fibrosis, Boomer's son is playing three sports and helping his dad fight for a cure

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Predictably, Gunnar's room is a shrine to NFL quarterbacks, festooned with the autographed jerseys of Favre, Manning, Brady and Carson Palmer. College is still two years off, but Gunnar already knows this: "I want to go somewhere with a stadium that seats at least 50,000, so I can be a fan."

While Gunnar surely knows more about biology than he ever wanted to--bacteria and antibiotics and pathogens--he's partial to history. College will present a new series of challenges. Kids with CF tend to neglect their treatments when they leave the nest. Self-possessed as Gunnar is, will he spend his customary three hours a day with the nebulizer and the vibrating vest that loosens the phlegm, when his parents aren't there to stay on top of him? "Also, you know how everything is supposed to be clean and free of bacteria?" Gunnar says. "I hear that doesn't always happen in a college dorm room."

It's a funny line that draws a chuckle from the adults at the table. But Gunnar isn't laughing. His father immediately picks up on his discomfort. He taps the table, and then with the clarity and calm of a quarterback in the huddle, Boomer Esiason says, "Don't worry. We'll figure something out--won't we, Gun?"

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