Steve Gleason was diagnosed with ALS five years ago, at age 34, and told he had two to five years to live. At the time he was a famous NFL player, a defensive back for the New Orleans Saints. A few weeks after his diagnosis, he learned his wife Michel was expecting their first child. As he lives with ALS now, he is sharing his story, not just with the sports world but everyone. He is truly inspiring others to live life to its fullest and to live intentionally.
A documentary titled Gleason, directed by Clay Tweel, will premiere at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, on Saturday, Jan. 23, at 11:30 a.m. It will be shown seven times over the course of the Sundance Film Festival. It is one of 16 American documentaries that illuminate the ideas, people, and events that shape the present day.
The project began as a video journal for his unborn child, but expanded into a documentary that follows him living with ALS, and the emotional journey that affects all his relationships. It provides a real perspective of the daily struggles of people with ALS and their caregivers. Gleason uses his characteristic determination and even humor to deal with his complicated situation.
Steve Gleason founded Team Gleason, a non-profit foundation, that he hopes will inspire those living with the same diagnosis. His mission is to help provide technology software and equipment services to those with ALS, create global conversation about ALS to find solutions to end the disease, and raise public awareness of ALS.
This personal story of Steve Gleason will likely share the emotions of thousands of others of people living with ALS in the United States. According to the ALS Association, approximately 20,000 Americans have the disease at any given time. Gleason’s legacy on the football field may be overshadowed by his inspirational approach to life: to live as fully as possible.