Tag:Steve Gleason
Posted on: September 27, 2011 4:22 pm

Gleason given Super bowl ring, key to city

GleasonPosted by Josh Katzowitz

The other day we told you about the story, written by the New Orleans Times Picayune that revealed that former Saints standout special teams player Steve Gleason had been diagnosed with ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease, at the age of 34.

While the nasty disease has no known cure and Gleason eventually will lose all control of his body movement, he’s remained optimistic while raising funds and awareness for the malady. The TP story -- and Gleason’s admission -- was cited by the Saints in their comeback victory against the Texans, and evidently, the story touched the city of New Orleans.

That was evident Monday night when the Saints presented Gleason with a Super Bowl XLIV ring and city mayor Mitch Landrieu also gave Gleason a key to the city during a private party, according to the Times Picayune.

"At the beginning of the game, I never knew if we were going to win or lose, but I was always for certain that I was going to walk out of there with my head held high because I got ready, I had the right people around me, and I was going to give it everything I had," Gleason said during a six-minute speech. "It's the same now. We're going to give it everything we've got. I have a calming sense of certainty that we're going to win this thing."

Said Scott Fujita, who attended the event: “This isn't about Steve having ALS. This is about Steve and his contribution to the 2009 team and the championship. He deserved it."

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Posted on: September 25, 2011 12:36 pm

Steve Gleason diagnosed with ALS

S. Gleason has been diagnosed with ALS (Getty). Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Steve Gleason played for the Saints from 2000-06, and his biggest moment on the field might have occurred five years ago when he blocked a Falcons punt in the newly-reopened Superdome post-Katrina. He’s 34 years old, and as a retired player who excelled on special teams, he should be loving life and looking forward to the upcoming decades.

Instead, he’s locked in a battle with one of the cruelest diseases known to man. As the New Orleans Times Picayune reports, Gleason has been diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, aka as Lou Gehrig’s disease, a malady that shuts down the body’s ability to move while the mind stays sharp. And while it must have been devastating to receive that diagnosis in January, Gleason is trying to make the best of it, forming a Team Gleason organization that will increase awareness and raise funds for ALS.

"It's easy to start questioning whether God has this plan and why the plan would include me getting diagnosed with this disease," Gleason told the paper. "And that's when you can start why-ing yourself to death. More than that, I've thought, what does this mean, how does this help me fulfill my purpose in life? If we have a purpose in life beyond being a cog in the human machine, mine is to help inspire people and that's pretty cool. I would like to motivate the world."

Gleason’s problems began last summer when he noticed a curious twitching in his upper arms and chest.

"My doctor told me it could be a wide spectrum of things, with the worst-case scenario being ALS," Gleason said. Eventually, he started having trouble lifting his fingers and toes. Then, the devastating diagnosis.

"It is unbelievable how devastating this disease can be to patients and their families," said Steve Perrin, the CEO and chief scientific officer of ALS Therapy Development Institute. "This is one of the nastiest diseases there is."

It sounds, though, like Gleason is trying to make the best of his new situation.

Make sure to read the rest of the TP story here. It’s a fantastic look at a man who will struggle with this demon the rest of his life.

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