Kevin Allman and Alex Woodward / Gambit Weekly
It was seven years ago this month that Steve Gleason achieved immortality among New Orleans Saints fans when he blocked a punt in the team’s first game in the Superdome following Hurricane Katrina. But it was two years ago this month that Gleason inspired people far beyond the gridiron when he revealed he is living with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).
On the eve of Gleason Gras, his annual event to raise awareness of ALS and support the Gleason Family Trust, Gleason agreed to an email interview. He answered Gambit’s questions with the use of assistive technology that allows him to type using his eyes.
GAMBIT: You've been traveling a lot in the last few months. Where have you been, and what have your experiences been like?
STEVE GLEASON: We try to go back to the Northwest in the summers. It gets me out of this heat, and helps us see our Northwest friends and family. We were in Sandpoint, Idaho, which is about 90 minutes from Spokane, Wash., where I grew up. As a kid I spent summers and winters in North Idaho, snowboarding and water skiing.
We took an ALS patient to Hell’s Canyon, where we caught an eight-foot sturgeon and slept under a full moon for two nights. One of our highlights was going to Wrigley Field to watch Pearl Jam. It was a memorable night. A massive thunderstorm came through so it was a two-hour “rain delay,” but not one person left and PJ played til 2 a.m.! A few New Orleans friends met us at Wrigley because they won sidestage passes for the show at last year’s Gleason Gras ...
It gets harder and harder for me to travel but we keep figuring out ways to keep rolling!