Let me tell you, I was already having a really good day- I just feel happy but this made it even better. Steven Gleason might sound familiar because he used to play for the Saints, or you might know his name from all the amazing work he has done for ALS.
I am not a football fanatic, so I first heard about him when the documentary “Gleason” came out. I remember watching this documentary alone on a Saturday night and crying like I have never cried before. It’s a tough one to watch but man is this guy so incredible and deserving of this award.
Gleason was diagnosed with ALS back in 2011. He has many challenges due to the disease that affects nerve cells on the brain and spinal cord. He has done so much to raise not only awareness and money but also advocated for federal legislation to help make sure that people with ALS have access to speech generating machines.
The Congressional Gold Medal is a huge deal. People who have previously been awarded this honor are Bob Hope, Winston Churchill, Joe Louis, Jesse Owens, Frank Sinatra, Mother Teresa, Rosa Parks, Jackie Robinson and Martin Luther King. It is one of the highest civilian awards in the United States and it recognizes people who “performed an achievement that has an impact on American history and culture that is likely to be recognized as a major achievement in the recipient’s field long after the achievement.”
Oh and did I mention the House of Representatives voted unanimously? Pretty cool.
You should really watch the documentary about his life, you will truly appreciate who he is and how much he does for people with ALS while struggling with it himself.