Guests were joined by more than 20 celebrities – including Lenny Clarke, Louis van Amstel and Andre Reed – on the snowy slopes of Beaver Creek, Colorado. Funds will go directly to support the foundation’s mission to find a cure for all people with cystic fibrosis (CF).
“Bringing people together in support of worthy causes is part of who we are as an airline, and in the 33 years since this event began, life expectancy for those experiencing CF has more than doubled,” said Elise Eberwein, Executive Vice President – People & Communications for American. “The important work of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation is truly changing lives. Together with the more than 50 team members and retiree volunteers who bring this event to life every year, we support the foundation’s mission and are committed to continuing to bring attention and research dollars to orphan diseases like CF.”
To date, American Airlines Celebrity Ski has raised more than $38 million to fund research for a cure for CF thanks to the generosity of incredible sponsors and attendees. Because of this event, significant advances have been made in the development of both gene and drug therapies as treatments for this life-threatening genetic disease that affects the lungs and digestive systems of more than 30,000 Americans each year. Breakthrough treatments have added several years to the lives of people with cystic fibrosis. In the 1950s, children with CF rarely lived long enough to attend elementary school; today they are living into their 40s. While there has been significant progress in treating this disease, there is still no cure and too many lives are cut far too short.
“We are pleased that American Airlines has shown an unwavering commitment to the Foundation’s mission for more than 30 years, making an enormous difference in the lives of those impacted by cystic fibrosis. Their generous support has helped us make investments that have resulted in improved care and new therapies, dramatically improving the lives of people with CF,” said Marc Ginsky, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. “American Airlines’ hosting of the Celebrity Ski event, as well as their numerous other efforts, are important to our continued work to cure this terrible disease.”
More than 30 years ago, three young girls who live with CF were introduced at the event and participants have watched their struggles and their victories over the years. Sisters Sam Pelican Monson and Libby Pelican Seamans, along with Piper Beatty Welsh, are now in their 30s and married; Sam and Libby have children of their own.
Throughout the weekend more than 50 American Airlines team members, retirees and their loved ones worked hundreds of hours to make the event a success.
“The money Celebrity Ski has raised for research is having lasting results. During my first year volunteering, the life expectancy of a child with cystic fibrosis was only 17 years, and today it’s more than 40,” commented American Airlines Captain Mark “Ziggy” Ziegler, a 30-year volunteer and Boeing 737 pilot based at Reagan National Airport in Washington, D.C. (DCA). “Watching Sam, Libby and Piper grow up, attend college, get married and have careers and families of their own brings a sense of extreme pride and honor. As a pilot, I get to interact with team members every day, but to witness their compassion and love during this event is unparalleled.”
For more information about the ways American Airlines is giving back to the community, please visit AA.com/letgoodtakeflight.