I tell you what, there is a hero living in new orleans by the name of steve gleason. He's been the star on the football field. A dedicated family man, wife michele, and son rivers but where he shines... See More
I tell you what, there is a hero living in new orleans by the name of steve gleason. He's been the star on the football field. A dedicated family man, wife michele, and son rivers but where he shines brightest perhaps in the way he is living his life in the face of incredible adversity. September 2006, more than a year after hurricane katrina laid waste to the city of new orleans, the saints are back in the superdome for the first time, the night before the game, saints coach sean payton brought his team to the stadium. The last 21 months of our life had just been completely flipped upside down and here we were back in this place and the message he was telling us was, hey, guys, this is your home, it's been rebuilt. This team has been rebuilt. Reporter: In their opening series the falcons are forced to punt as steve gleason, nr 37, is rushing from the middle. As soon as I came around that corner and saw the punter, there was certainly some adrenaline like, man, this could happen and if it does, this is going to be chaos. And the block. Look out, right through. Cuts across by steve gleason. It is going to be covered by the saints for a touchdown! There is no question that that moment was the loudest moment I have ever heard in any building in the world. Just the emotion coming from the crowd who was just infinite joy. He would retire a hero in new orleans and begin life after football he had long considered with his new wife michele. We were safe. Reporter: New orleans immortalized that turning point with this statue outside the stadium. They named it rebirth. But today it has new meaning, profound and bittersweet because the man whose simple act gave the city a symbol of resilience is now in a fight of his own. We were talk walking across the street and trinhed and fell. Face planted. His foot dropped and really just fell on his face. It was devastating. It was also like thiss -- this is happening. Reporter: From 2011 gleason was diagnosed with als, lou gehrig's disease. Gleason's friend and former teammate scott fujita. My wife felt like a close relative passed away. It was intense. Reporter: That was gleason then, what seems long ago. When we see him in february he's lost most of his ability able to communicate only through a computer equipped with laser sighting technology. How did it recalibrate your life? In 2011 I was losing the ability to run. I wasn't sure what I would do if I could no longer run. When it finally happened, i chose to search for myself new avenues of choice but with each loss we have worked to find the beautiful replacement. Reporter: The grandest of all those new avenues of joy, a baby boy named river arrived soon after his father's diagnosis. It's weird. It's a weird thing, huh. Reporter: Since then steve is focused on creating a video journal for river so that one day his son can know his father. This chapter from the song "no one is going to love you more." ♪ No wone is ever going to love you more than I do ♪ Reporter: What's it like to watch you and what's it like to watch yourself walking? It's difficult. I have moments where I miss my old self but at the same time we've can choose to focus on the beauty of now. Reporter: What do you see when you see him? I see someone I'm very proud of and love a lot and get annoyed with a lot, but love a lot more than get annoyed with. Reporter: He created a foundation, team gleason to raise awareness and find a cure for als. Many in his sport rallied behind him. It steals your life a little bit at a time. Unless we stop it first. Reporter: So too has one of his favorite group, pearl jam. This is for steve gleason. ♪ when he was initially diagnosed they said prepare to die. Terminal illness, no medical cure for it and so when steve was told that, he said, I'm going to prepare to live. Reporter: And living life is exactly what he is doing. Go. Reporter: One year post-diagnosis to celebrate he goes and jumps out of an airplane. Reporter: Then he had a proposition for his good if disbelieving friends. He said, well, I'm going down to machu picchu -- you mean machu pitcchu in peru? Yes. Reporter: The idea was seen but most of the work fujita knew would rest on his shoulders literally. We're on our way. I'm like, are you fricking kidding me. It was much more gnarly than anticipated. I was definitely scared but i just chose to embrace it. Reporter:11 grueling hours, 2500 feet straight up. My feeling on top of machu picchu was initially relief, like thank god everyone is safe and then I think the sense of accomplishment set in. Reporter: Did going to machu picchu help you find a new way to run? I think so. Because I mean these adventures is part of my new run. Also you watch those videos and you have seen me walking in the park with rivers. This is all my new way to run. Reporter: 'People who battle any kind of illness, goals are life. Are you going to have another machu picchu and another machu picchu and another machu picchu? I think we will. I think it's good to always have something to look forward to. We all make challenges every day. If we make choices or walk away from our challenges figuratively. Steve gleason is one of the
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