After retiring from the NFL, Steve Gleason received the grim news: he’d been diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), or Lou Gehrig’s disease. There is no cure available and a typical life expectancy of two to four years. So what did Gleason do? He decided to live a productive life. Continue reading for 10 ways he’s doing exactly that.
Choosing Living Over Merely Surviving
A few weeks after being diagnosed with ALS, Gleason and his wife Michel learned they were pregnant. He soon began recording his beliefs and thoughts for his soon-to-be-born son.
Turning The Private Into The Public
With no known cure, ALS ravages the human body. Gleason decided to film his daily struggles and ultimately released the documentary Gleason, which won rave reviews.
Using Technology To Live A Productive Life
Today’s technology has helped Gleason and other ALS survivors lead productive lives. Gleason uses eye-tracking technology and a tablet to text, write, tweet, and complete other daily activities.
Staying Involved With Family Life
He recently tweeted, “I’m active, influential, and present in our son River’s life. … Because of this life-giving technology and an excellent care crew, in many ways, I feel like we’ve conquered ALS.”
Reaching For The Stars
Always looking to redefine what it means to live with a terminal illness, Gleason recently applied to go into space with Space for Humanity, a non-profit organization dedicated to democratizing space.
Leading By Example
This year, in celebration of his 41st birthday, the former New Orleans Saint was surprised by the announcement that he’d been named the winner of the 2018 David Dixon Louisiana Sports Leadership Award.
Fighting For Accessibility
The Steve Gleason Enduring Voices Act, a piece of legislation recently made official, helps people with diseases like ALS have access to speech-generation devices.
Focusing On The Positive
Gleason wrote for SI in advance of his documentary: “I believe the desire to live with purpose, despite the circumstances in one’s life, is universal.”
Keeping His Sense Of Humor
Even ALS couldn’t dull his sense of humor. When the Vikings won their playoff game against the Saints with a last-second touchdown, Gleason tweeted, “Congratulations to the Vikings. I’m so in shock I can’t move.”
Before the release of the Gleason film he wrote, “If our movie inspires anyone to live life more triumphantly, rather than hanging in there, we’ve succeeded.”