Former New Orleans Saints star Steve Gleason was the keynote speaker at Advertising Week’s annual conference on Monday, September 29 in Manhattan, New York. Gleason had a lasting impact on all those he spoke to at the conference, and headlined a roster of high-profile speakers including Katie Couric, Kevin Spacey and Jared Leto.
Four years ago Gleason was diagnosed with ALS, commonly known as “Lou Gehrig’s Disease”, and spoke about how he coped with his diagnosis and went on to flourish in his post NFL life. Although he is extremely limited in his physical abilities, he has traveled the world and been able to continue to develop and make new meaningful relationships thanks to developments in technology.
“The technology I use is very beneficial. I am able to type, speak,, and navigate a PC as you would. I can text, tweet, even pul up any song I want on Spotify,” said Gleason. “In fact, our foundation is opening up a residence that will allow ALS patients to control their environment – computers, TVS lights, doors, elevators — using just their eyes. This innovate concept empowers patients to live very independently without bankrupting their families. It also allows them to continue to be productive and purposeful.”
Gleason retired from the NFL in 2008 after seven years in the league. In 2011, he created Team Gleason with family and friends to support people with ALS and to increase awareness for the disease.
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Watch Steve Gleason Speaking about Special Bond with Pearl Jam: