For the second time in less than 6 months, Steve Gleason will complete 13.1 miles when his brother-in-law, Vinnie Varisco, pushes him along the course in a specially equipped, customized wheelchair. Varisco usually runs a half-marathon in less than 90 minutes, but took an hour and 52 minutes in their first race last October. “It’s more difficult. But again, it’s all relative, “ Varisco said. “Very rarely will you hear me or anyone around Steve complaining about something being difficult when you see what he goes through on a daily basis.”
Joining Steve and Vinnie in the race will be Pearl Jam guitarist Mike McCready. McCready friended Steve when he attended the PJ20 Festival in 2011 celebrating Pearl Jam's 20th anniversary. In addition to running, McCready will also perform the National Anthem to kick off the race as a representative of Team Gleason.
Many runners and walkers from across the country are joining Steve and Vinnie in New Orleans in an effort to raise money and spread awareness for ALS and The Gleason Initiative Foundation. Any donation you make is not only 100% tax deductible, but greatly appreciated by Steve, his family and others who are affected by ALS.
Gleason played for The New Orleans Saints from 2000-2008. As a counter-culture athlete who spent his off-season adventuring in third world countries, he will always be remembered for his blocked punt on the night the Louisiana Superdome reopened for the first time after Hurricane Katrina.
Early in 2011 Gleason was diagnosed with ALS, considered a terminal neuro-muscular 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 hopes to inspire others to do the same.
The mission of The Gleason Initiative is to:
Help provide individuals with muscular diseases or injuries with leading edge technology, equipment and services;
Raise public awareness toward amyotrophic lateral sclerosis “ALS” by providing and documenting extraordinary life adventures for individuals with muscular diseases or injuries.
Race Date: February 24, 2013
Race Time: 7:00am
Race info: http://runrocknroll.competitor.com/new-orleans
If you would like to race with Team Gleason Click Here.