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Theresa Esman

Providing Heartfelt Financial Support in the Fight Against Devastating Diseases

After losing her husband Saul after almost fifty years of marriage, Theresa Esman created the Saul and Theresa Esman Foundation to zero in on those diseases that are the biggest killers. Scripps Florida is one of several key beneficiaries of the generosity of Theresa and her foundation.

Saul was a tremendous man of character, personality, perseverance, hard work, and entrepreneurial spirit. He built an extremely successful sporting goods business in Pittsburgh, and was always loyal and supportive of those who worked for him. In fact, Theresa was one of those employees.

Saul sold his business in 1979, and he and Theresa settled in South Florida, giving lots of their hard-earned income to charity. Theresa, still going strong, now resides in beautiful Bal Harbour, Florida.

“My husband wanted the benefits of his hard work to help people. We fund research that will be good for mankind long after I’m gone,” said Theresa.

The Saul and Theresa Esman Foundation, funds a spectrum of work in diseases such as diabetes, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, cardiovascular disease/stroke, and cancer.

Two years ago, when few people in South Florida wanted to step to the philanthropy plate due to the Madoff scandal, Theresa was the first to fund the American Heart Association’s Children Reach-Out Initiative which focuses on building awareness and preventing childhood obesity, as well as increasing support to those children whom already have heart disease.

“Theresa has a great heart. She deserves all the credit for the funding and support she gives to charities. Despite the losses incurred by South Floridians due to the Madoff scandal, she still stepped up with the American Heart Association gift,” said Murray Levin, Executive Director of the Saul and Theresa Esman Foundation, as well as a world champion weightlifter, President of the Pan American Games weightlifting sport for 20 years and United States President for 13 years, the founder of women’s weightlifting 30 years ago, and a World War Two veteran.

Theresa also supports the American Diabetes Association. “It used to be that people started getting diabetes in their 40’s and 50’s,” said Theresa. “The whole picture is changing and it’s scary.”

On her funding of the Alzheimer’s Association, Theresa said, “It’s so sad when people share their lives together and suddenly a spouse does not know her partner. It’s hard to keep from breaking down.”

Theresa has made two major annual gifts to support Parkinson’s disease research in the laboratory of Dr. Phil LoGrasso at Scripps Florida, via the Saul and Theresa Esman Foundation.

“We were so pleased with Scripps’ work that we stepped forward again without even being asked,” said Murray. “Scripps Florida is near and dear to the foundation’s heart. It is involved in so many different areas. We are proud to be a contributor to Scripps.”

“For us, this is not simply an annual thing,” said Murray. “We meet with the executives of the charities during the year and we stay on top of their progress.”

“The generous gifts from the Saul and Theresa Esman Foundation allow us to pursue novel work in developing neuroprotective agents to treat Parkinson’s disease, and to better understand the underlying mechanisms which cause the disease,” said Phil LoGrasso.

“The funding goes to support a postdoctoral fellow and is extremely valuable because it helps us pursue groundbreaking research that is needed to produce preliminary data for additional National Institutes of Health funding.”

“Mrs. Esman’s gentle and elegant manner is in keeping with the supportive nature of her gift, and her thoughtfulness provides great encouragement in our work.”

“The footprints we leave behind are our legacy,” said Murray. “We are excited that Dr. LoGrasso is working hard on the diseases that are destroying our people and wish him the best of success. We’ve been really happy with the progress he’s making, and see this as a long-term relationship. We wish him the greatest success.”

“We believe in what you’re doing,” said Theresa. “None of us knows what’s going to happen to us down the road, and we’re all sadly touched by diseases in our family and friends – medical research provides hope for us all,” said Theresa.

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“None of us knows what’s going to happen to us down the road, and we’re all sadly touched by diseases in our family and friends – medical research provides hope for us all,” says Scripps Research Institute supporter Theresa Esman.