Steve Gleason: No White Flags
On September 25, 2006, Gleason was responsible for one of the most dramatic moments in New Orleans Saints history, when he blocked a Atlanta Falcons punt and it was returned for a touchdown. No big deal, right?? Blocked punts happen all the time, right? Remember Hurricane Katrina? Well, this was the first game to be played in New Orleans, at the Super Dome, post Katrina. Um, yeah the one that just months before was home to people escaping the flooding city… So needless to say it was a HUGE deal. The world was watching New Orleans, waiting to see if it would come back after such a tragedy, and with this punt it SPARKED such emotion through the city that some say it started the “rebirth” of the city. So much in fact that the City Of New Orleans built a statue in honor of Steve Gleason called “rebirth”.
So why am I writing about this? This is a Run, Bike, Swim website, not a football site, right??? Steve Gleason did not go on to win a Superbowl (although the Saints did give him an honorary ring), he did not go on to a full NFL career, quite the opposite, his path would be unexpected. In 2011 Steve Gleason revealed that he was diagnosed with ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) and he started a battle for a cure along with friends Drew Brees and Sean Payton, called “No White Flags” and hung it high above TeamGleason.org.
Since his diagnosis Steve may have lost much control of his body, he can’t walk, he can barely talk, but his mind is better than ever, he is working, slowly, quietly, but working like a MACHINE, he is in pure Beast Mode to find a cure. Steve has used his power and celebrity to push technology forward, open new facilities that focus on making strides in ALS awareness and technology for those affected by it. He has kept his schedule FULL with non stop appearances, fundraisers, press releases, and a never ending awareness campaign.
But more than any of this stuff above, more than the fame, more than his celebrity, he is a dad… Steve has a little boy named Rivers, and his battle is of course with ALS, but in my heart I can feel his battle to stay with his son, just extend this time as much as possible. Steve has released many videos of him leaving letters for his son (see video at bottom of page), many pictures of daddy and Rivers, and although he battles constantly he has began preparing for the worst and he is making sure his son knows his MIND, his thoughts, his lessons. Everything for me revolves around my son, and when I learned that Steve was originally an Indianapolis Colt and then moved to New Orleans I just became connected to his story. I am from Indiana, and I moved to New Orleans, and I am a dad… So RunDustin.com LOVES Steve Gleason and his family. This could be me, I could be fighting for more time with my son, and when I think about this my heart breaks, and lets me know that I have to live EVERY moment, be with my son EVERY moment, and NEVER take anything for granted. When I feel like quitting, times are tough, not sure what to do I just think of Steve, his battle, and I say, “No White Flags Dustin… No WHITE FLAGS”!!!!
For the second time in less than 6 months, Steve Gleason will complete 13.1 miles when his brother-in-law, Vinnie Varisco, pushes him along the course in a specially equipped, customized wheelchair. Varisco usually runs a half-marathon in less than 90 minutes, but took an hour and 52 minutes in their first race last October. “It’s more difficult. But again, it’s all relative, “ Varisco said. “Very rarely will you hear me or anyone around Steve complaining about something being difficult when you see what he goes through on a daily basis.” Rundustin.com will be there running the full marathon and I can only hope to get to shake Steves hand, maybe a fist bump, or one of his classic smiles. If you are interested in supporting TeamGleason.org CLICK BANNER BELOW to donate to Steve’s Rock n Roll 13.1 goal.
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