According to Peter King of TheMMQB.com, New Orleans Saints owner Tom Benson is donating $5 million towards Steve Gleason’s foundation Team Gleason in an effort to find a cure for ALS.
New Orleans Saints owner Tom Benson is donating $5 million to help former Saints special-teamer Steve Gleason, who now is wheelchair-bound with ALS, and his Team Gleason foundation build and operate Team Gleason House for Innovative Living. The gift, Gleason said, will be used as an endowment for annual operating expenses for the home. The house, in New Orleans, will allow 18 ALS patients to live fairly close to self-sufficient lives in rooms where the operation of everything will be controlled by patients’ eyes. The home is scheduled to open in June, and Gleason doesn’t want to stop at just one in New Orleans.
“Call me crazy,’’ Gleason told King, “but I envision a facility like this in every NFL city.”
“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.”
I asked Benson what motivated him to make this gift. “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.”
Benson is all in on helping Gleason and the ALS community.
“Steve has this saying: ‘No white flags,’” said Benson. “If someone is going to be behind finding a cure for ALS, it’s going to be Steve Gleason.”