Our relationship with Easterseals began almost forty years ago in 1984. Sean's employer, Bayer Consumer Care proudly served as a national corporate partner alongside Easter Seals. We therefore had the personal opportunity to witness the amazing dedication and their tireless work never realizing that we would one day benefit from the support, advocacy, and resources they would offer us as parents.

Our son, Skip was born Deaf in 1992. Easterseals outreach during his high school years provided him with the accessibility critical to his personal and educational success while helping break barriers and educate those around him. Today, Skip possesses an M.S. degree and is eagerly pursuing his Ed.D. degree in sports psychology while employed by Rochester Institute of Technology. Skip signed a professional baseball contract with an independent baseball organization in 2016 and in 2017 became the proud recipient of the Easterseals Dick Hoyt Rising Star Award. Resources, support, education, dedication, perseverance, and commitment matter to individuals with disabilities and their families. Great things happen when we work and believe in the possibilities for all. We are eternally grateful to Easter Seals for helping make dreams come true in our family.

Easterseals also became our key partner in our fundraising efforts to benefit the deaf community. We coordinated numerous charitable golf events that ultimately led to our establishment of The Friendship Cup Golf Benefit for the Deaf. During our twenty-four years of golf tournaments, we raised almost $1.7 million dollars to support programs, camps, events, media centers, sponsorships, education, and employment for deaf and hard-of-hearing children, youth, and beyond. This would have been possible without our outstanding charitable partner and friend, Easterseals. They provided the necessary support to create an incredible venue that yielded invaluable benefits for so many. Our relationship with Easterseals will always remain a legacy in our personal philanthropic efforts and to those who are directly impacted. We again are deeply grateful for their friendship and commitment.

We are profoundly humbled, thrilled, and honored to be the recipients of the 2023 Equal Opportunities to Live Award. We look forward to our ongoing collaboration to always assist in their mission to ensure children and adults with disabilities have equal opportunities to live, learn, work, and play. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts for this prestigious recognition.

- Sean Flanagan & Sue Gagnon-Flanagan

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