About Brian

CFLF Founder and Executive Director

Brian Callanan is a adult with Cystic Fibrosis, diagnosed at birth. He completed his BA at St. Michael’s College in Colchester, VT in 1998 with a major in Psychology (Cum Laude).  In 2003, Brian attained a  Masters of Education in 2003 from St. Michael's, with a focus in Administration, Special Education and Spirituality in Education. Brian has received numerous awards and scholarships related to his overcoming cystic fibrosis and persevering in the face of adversity.

 

As the youngest of five boys, Brian shares his experiences of living with CF with another brother, also diagnosed as an infant.  Growing up, Brian was continually active by participating in baseball, basketball, and soccer leagues early on.  In early adolescence, Brian attended summer camps in NH for several years where he fostered his love of sailing and running.

 

Throughout high school, Brian’s interest in skiing greatly developed, as did his interest in XC-running and competitive swimming.  However, his success on the slopes is where he truly felt on level with his peers, and  both the physical and psychosocial benefit of the sport.  This passion steered Brian to Vermont in his collegiate pursuit.

 

Skiing became an integral part of his health management, especially through the winter months.  The friendships that developed through time on the slopes evolved into caring and supporting relationships that also provided accountability when it came to Brian’s adherence to prescribed medical therapies and keeping up on his regimens of chest therapy and taking pills.

 

After college, Brian worked for two years in the credit industry, and then transitioned  to work with severely learning-disabled students in a residential boarding environment from 2000-03. While teaching social and emotional skills, he also instilled the value of experiential education through group sailing and ropes course based team building and challenge programs at Pine Ridge School in Williston, VT.

 

Brian also worked in 2003-04 as a community integration coordinator for an alternative school focused on students with severe emotional and behavioral challenges. During this period, he was a live-in mentor for a former Pine Ridge student transitioning to independent living.

 

Upon the completion of his graduate education in 2003, Brian developed the Cystic Fibrosis Lifestyle Foundation (CFLF) by incorporating and obtaining a 501(c)3 status for the organization. Serving as the Executive Director of Joseph’s House Outreach Center in Burlington, VT from 2004-08, Brian administered programs helping people in poverty. While learning the skills of program coordination, board development, budget implementation, volunteer recruitment, personnel training, public relations, marketing, grant writing, and many other skills of directorship, Brian became ready to take the CFLF to a full time organization.

 

From 2003-07, Brian volunteered his time in nights and weekends to generate almost $150,000 in grants and donations for this cause. Almost $60,000 resulted from his completion of a 5-week awareness/fundraising bicycle ride of over 2,000 miles from Canada to Key West in 2006.

 

This effort gave rise to the first CFLF Recreation Grants being awarded in 2007 to begin implementing the mission of Brian’s vision - to help individuals become inspired, empowered and assisted with “Living Stronger! and Living Longer!”.

 

In January 2008, CFLF received renewable funding earmarked for a full-time director.  Now working full-time for CFLF, Brian is dedicated to growing the organization to new levels in helping people deal with the same struggles he has faced throughout his own life.

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