Steve Gleason receives Congressional Gold Medal

Steve Gleason receives Congressional Gold Medal”

The Stephen Michael Gleason Congressional Gold Medal Act honors his work through his Team Gleason foundation "to provide individuals with neuromuscular diseases or injuries with the assistance they need to thrive, his advocacy for federal legislation ensuring people living with diseases such as ALS have access to speech generating devices, and his leadership in bringing together the single largest coordinated and collaborative ALS research project in the world".

"We as a country, and more appropriately, we as a global species face enormous challenges in the coming decades of the 21st century, "Gleason said at the ceremony".

Brees, who celebrated his 41st birthday on Wednesday, recalled the day Gleason emailed to say he'd been diagnosed with ALS, which has no cure. "The truth is that we all experience pain in our lives, but I believe the problems we face are our opportunity to find our human objective".

Saints quarterback Drew Brees accompanied Gleason to the United States Capitol on Wednesday to support his former teammate. The voice is actually his own, thanks to recordings he taped during the early stages of the disease. Microsoft completed the request and is among those working to make the technology more widely available.

While ALS has taken away his muscular function, Gleason's mind and wit remain sharp, and he drew a laugh from the crowd from one comment in particular.

"If we can keep exploring, share our weaknesses with each other and compassionately collaborate to solve problems, our human potential is boundless". "And it has been unquestionably critical to my survival and objective for the last nine years, living with a disease as dreadfully lovely as ALS".

Brees explained how back in 2011 before a Saints Wild Card game. he learned of Gleason's tragic diagnosis through an e-mail - and broke down on the team bus.

Gleason also said it's his children - son Rivers and daughter Gray - who "give me objective". "And there is no person more deserving of this honor than you". Brees spoke following Gleason's speech.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi introduced Gleason as a "true American hero".

Gleason is the first National Football League player to receive the Congressional Gold Medal.

On the field, the former National Football League player was perhaps best known for blocking a punt in the opening minutes of the Saints first game back in their renovated stadium following the destruction of Hurricane Katrina.

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