WSU alumnus Steve Gleason receives Congressional Gold Medal for ALS advocacy

16 Janvier, 2020, 08:24 | Auteur: Adelaide Bullion
  • Michel Gleason right helps House Speaker Nancy Pelosi center present a Congressional Gold Medal to her husband Steve Gleason on Wednesday

In a moving ceremony at the U.S. Capitol's historic Statuary Room on Wednesday, Jan. 15, New Orleans Saints legend Steve Gleason received the Congressional Gold Medal, becoming the first former National Football League player to receive the award.

Steve Gleason received the Congressional Gold Medal ceremony at Statuary Hall in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday. "I believe adversity is our opportunity to keep exploring because we will all face pain and tragedy, but it's clear to me that beyond the human capacity of imagination, our greatest strength as a species has been our ability to bravely share our weaknesses and vulnerabilities with each other".

Gleason also said it's his children - son Rivers and daughter Gray - who "give me objective".

In addition to a host of Louisiana and national political leaders who spoke, New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees delivered a heartfelt speech, saying on the quarterback's 41st birthday, "There is no place I'd rather be today".

"We have come to honor a true American hero ... who has transformed the lives of so many people living with ALS", Pelosi said.

"You bring luster to this award and pride to our nation", she said.

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Among the successes of his charity - Team Gleason - was a 2015 challenge made to Microsoft to create a way for people who are completely paralyzed to navigate their power wheelchairs with their eyes. He was diagnosed with ALS in 2011.

Gleason, 42, thanked his family and said his children give him a reason to live and make a better tomorrow.

Gleason, who was a special teams standout for the New Orleans Saints, was recognized for his crusading work as an advocate for people with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease.

U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy was the original filer of the legislation to award the medal and says he worked closely with Gleason's charitable organization, Team Gleason on the project. "He has remained positive in the face of extreme adversity, inspiring all who hear his story". His final block occurred against Atlanta on September 26, 2006, the night the Superdome reopened for the first time since it was heavily damaged while serving as a shelter of last resort for thousands who'd remained in New Orleans when Hurricane Katrina struck almost 13 months earlier.

The play has been memorialized by a bronze statue entitled "Rebirth", on a public plaza surrounding the Superdome.

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