NEW ORLEANS - It's been just over a year since Steve Gleason announced he has ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s Disease, before a sold out crowd inside the Superdome.
Now, the 35-year-old retired Saints safety is confined to a wheelchair and speaking is difficult.
But he's still working to make a difference.
Despite rain Sunday, hundreds came to Champions Square for the second annual Gleason Gras, aimed at raising awareness and money for ALS through Team Gleason.
“Despite any type of adversity that you might be facing, I believe you can continue to do the things that you love with the people you love,”said Gleason.
The beloved former football player hopes his organization can help improve the quality of life for those diagnosed with the disease, and ultimately, finding a cure.
He chronicles living with the disease on his website.
“We believe that if the public can not only be educated but clearly understand the intimate details of this disease, that will be a huge step towards finding a cure,” said Gleason.
Various bands played during Sunday’s event, and there were live and silent auctions. A number of Saints players attended to sign autographs, including quarterback Drew Brees.
“This is awesome that we could be here to support Steve and Team Gleason,” said Brees.
Gleason made it a point to invite a number of people living with ALS, like Michael Sork. Sork is unable to talk, but continues try to enjoy life as much as possible with his wife, Karen.
“ALS is a full time job. I stay home with him and take care of him. It has given us a great opportunity to grow together; we spend all our time together, so it's opened up those doors for us, but it can be hard,” she said.“I just think the more awareness they can bring to it, the sooner we can find a cure.”
“We've got a purpose for each other to work toward a common goal and it's really good being such a unit,” said Gleason’s wife, Michelle Varisco-Gleason.“We're really creating the awareness and succeeding at it and it's in that case rewarding and it's challenging and difficult.”
Gleason is undergoing experimental treatments and even there's no cure now, this is a match up he's determined to win.