We got this email from Ryan:

Team Gleason,

Let me start by saying what an inspiration Steve is to me. Like Steve, I am a young (34) husband and father living with ALS. I was diagnosed January 2010 after two years of testing – I never dreamed that a weak hand would turn into a fatal disease. However, like Steve, I too have determined to live a long, full life. To do that, I have realized the the need for assistive technology. For the past three years we have been able to afford many things such as my powerchair, home modifications, etc. However, we are facing our biggest obstacle yet – communication. My voice is almost entirely gone. I am currently trying to get the new Tobii I12 eyegaze device, but recently found out Medicare requires a copay of approximately $2,600.00. So, as of right now, I am unable to get the device, as we have depleted our resources (savings, 401k) on previous medical equipment. Then I remembered the first part of your mission statement and decided to reach out to you for help. Anything Team Gleason can do to help with acquiring this device will be greatly appreciated. I will gladly provide contact info for my neurologist, speech therapist and Tobii representative if you like. Thank You for your time and consideration!

– Ryan Ward


Seeing this picture and reading about his determination to live life for his wife and daughter, we wanted to help Ryan. He’s an inspiration for us. With the funds raised for The Gleason Initiative Foundation, we were able to pay the remainder of the Tobii eyegaze equipment.

From Ryan:

Hi Michel,

I had no idea I was speaking to you and Steve directly… that is AWESOME! I can’t begin to thank y’all enough. Not just for the money, but for the hope and encouragement I draw from you. I hate to admit it, but I’ve never really cared for football, nevertheless Steve has become a real hero to me! My favorite SG quote is “What remains when we shed our pride and shame? Love…Shed your skin.”. That has really helped me overcome my own pride and allow others to help me.

Thanks again for everything!

All my love and prayers,
Ryan Ward