Former New Orleans Saints special-teamer Steve Gleason has been very active during Super Bowl week. That alone is remarkable because Gleason is suffering from Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig’s disease.
Gleason is famous in this city for his blocked punt in the NFL’s first game in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. He has been described as an inspirational player, and now he is using that inspiration to help others.
Earlier this week, he helped to produce an ALS awareness commercial that involved dozens of NFL players. On Friday, he began a campaign to raise $5 million for ALS awareness by the end of Sunday’s game.
In a letter to fans and media, he wrote:
We — the family of football — have an opportunity to do something truly remarkable that we will be able to look back on many years from now with a sense of profound pride.
We have the chance to rewrite the future of ALS. And we can do it right now. This historic week. We can mark the history of ALS with a before, and an after, at this very moment.
And so, inspired by you — by your incredible support and encouragement — I am launching a challenge. To myself and to you all. To the media, to the fans, to the big corporations, to the players, and to the owners — to all of you who have gathered here in my home city.
Help me raise $5 Million to mark the beginning of the end of ALS.
And help me do it by the end of the game on Sunday.
This is about something bigger than football. Something bigger than all of us.
The money will kick-start a research revolution to put new medical treatments on the market, to provide cutting-edge technology for patients and to make sure that never again will we expect people with ALS to just quietly fade away.
You can support Gleason’s plea at TeamGleason.org/donate.