Around here, Saints Football might as well be religion. If there’s one thing that all New Orleanians can come together and find common ground on, it’s their love for the Saints. So, when longtime Saints player Steve Gleason was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) , it was no surprise that the community surrounded him with its support and unconditional love.
His diagnosis in January of 2011 was a shock to the community, but also an opportunity. Instead of sulking in his misfortune or falling out of touch with his team, Steve made it his mission to use his diagnosis to help others. With the help of his friends and family, Steve started Team Gleason, a foundation to help raise awareness for ALS, funding to help those diagnosed and hopefully find a cure.
Although ALS is considered to be a terminal neuro-muscular disease, Steve is still motivated to pursue his dreams and work towards his goals. And while he will most likely remain remembered for his blocked punt the night the New Orleans Superdome reopened after Hurricane Katrina, his most recent endeavors are remarkable nonetheless.
The evolution of Team Gleason and its relationship with the Saints and the New Orleans community is ongoing, and continues to help those affected and unite the community as a whole. Steve has always been a giver—during his eight years on the Saints he continuously donated his hair to Locks of Love, and continues to be one through his efforts on Team Gleason.