New Orleans Saints owner Tom Benson has donated an incredible $5 million dollars to help former special-team player Steve Gleason's 'Team Gleason' foundation build and operate Team Gleason House for Innovative Living, which will help support 18 sufferers of Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.
Gleason was with the Saints between 2000 and 2007, and revealed in 2011 that he was suffering with ALS.
Since then the 37-year-old, who earned a place in the team's folklore by blocking a punt against the Atlanta Falcons which led to the first touchdown scored by the Saints following Hurrican Katrina in 2006, has launched his foundations to help those struggling with the disease.
Having done his bit for the Saints, owner Tom Benson has decided to offer him a little help in return, to the tune of $5 million dollars.
“Steve is part of our Saints family,” Benson said. “He suffers from a terrible disease, but yet his focus and resolve is centered around finding a cure for ALS and helping others who suffer from ALS live full and prosperous lives—and he is doing that right here in his adopted hometown of New Orleans. We could not be more proud of him and [wife] Michel and Team Gleason.”
The home, which features technology that will allow the inhabitants to control almost everything simply by moving their eyes, is due to open in June. Gleason uses similar technology to speak via a computer attached to his wheelchair.
The former Saints star said his plans to help those suffering with ALS didn't stop with the one house.
Call me crazy,’’ Gleason said on Sunday afternoon, “but I envision a facility like this in every NFL city.”
He continued: “This is more than a philanthropic project between Team Gleason and Mr. Benson. This has become a friendship between people—people who are looking creatively at a massive problem and seeking solutions.
"Let me say that I believe this is an example of how players (ex-players in my case) and NFL organizations can unite to proactively address a problem that has not only affected the NFL, but also tens of thousands of families around the country.”