Steve Gleason seeks $500 million to find ALS cure


Posted on June 26, 2014 at 5:25 PM

Updated Thursday, Jun 26 at 6:28 PM

Bill Capo / Eyewitness News
Email: | Twitter: @billcapo

NEW ORLEANS - Steve Gleason is a legendary New Orleans Saints player, but over the last three years ALS, or Lou Gehrig's Disease has attacked his brain's ability to make his body respond to commands. He speaks through a computer now, but he is fighting for a cure.

"As big as ALS is, with enough support and a large scale unified collaboration, we believe that ALS can be solved," Gleason said.

After a summit on the disease last year, Team Gleason is now starting 'Answer ALS,' setting up a council of patients, care givers, doctors, researchers, and pharmaceutical companies to find new therapies for treatment, like using stem cells, and coordinate the search for a cure.

"We believe that through a massive assault on this disease, we can have solutions in the foreseeable future," said Team Gleason Executive Director Paul Varisco.

Two of Steve's friends were delighted with the news.

"And it is exciting to know about these answers where ALS has produced a direction. That gives us hope," said ALS patient Michael Sork, using his voice computer.

"I believe from what I heard that we're not that far off from a treatment," added ALS patient Dale Hinyup.

But in order for Answer ALS to be successful, they're going to need funding, big bucks. Steve Gleason was insistent that their fund raising efforts not interfere with other fund raising efforts, right?

"That's exactly right," Gleason responded. "We intend to enhance all efforts to fund all ALS research."

"Our goal is to secure a minimum of $125 million annually for five years," said Varisco. "We are appealing to large investors, Fortune 500 leaders, and the world's wealthiest individuals to be part of ridding the world of ALS," concluded Gleason.