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2021 Keynote Speaker: Steve Gleason

Former NFL player, Congressional Gold Medalist & ALS Advocate

Steve Gleason photo

Steve Gleason played 8 seasons for The New Orleans Saints, recognized as a counter-culture athlete who spent his off-season adventuring in developing countries. He will always be remembered for his blocked punt on the night the Louisiana Superdome reopened for the first time after Hurricane Katrina.

In January 2011, Steve was diagnosed with ALS, considered a terminal neuromuscular disease. Beyond his faith that there is a solution to heal, it is his mission to show that patients can not only live but thrive after this diagnosis. In doing so, he hoped to inspire others to do the same. With that in mind, Steve and his wife, Michel, formed “Team Gleason” to help him accomplish those goals and more.

Steve’s story and mission have been told countless times throughout the media and in a soon to be released documentary. The NFL Network, ESPN, HBO, ABC, CBS, CNN and many local out-lets have all been inspired to share the Team Gleason story in many ways. He was featured in 2 Peter King interviews during Super Bowl pre-game shows, NFL’s A Football Life, Good Morning America, HBO’s Real Sports and more.

He was named one of 2 Sports Illustrated’s Inspirations of the Year in 2014 and been a keynote speaker for Microsoft and at 2 United Nations sponsored Social Innovation Summits. Steve was the featured personality on the highly praised and reviewed Microsoft commercial during the 2014 Super Bowl with over 3 million views since airing.

As an advocate on the national stage, Team Gleason has brought ALS to the forefront. In 2015, both the US House of Representatives and the Senate unanimously passed “The Steve Gleason Act” to ensure the availability of life-sustaining communication devices. The Act was signed into law on July 31, 2015 but had a 3-year sunset. In 2018, the Steve Gleason Enduring Voices Act was submitted to replace the original law and passed in February.