EDIT NUSS: I love this idea. Perhaps this is something we can get behind.
I'm sure you have all heard the recent news about former WSU linebacker Steve Gleason and his diagnosis of ALS or Lou Gehrig's Disease. As a fellow alum the story truly saddened me. I attended WSU from 1998-2003 and had the opportunity to not only watch Steve but to talk and interview him for Cable 8 news. Steve always had time for everyone and in his interviews you could sense how much he put his team first despite his individual accomplishments.
Steve made tremendous contributions to football, baseball, and academics during his time at Washington State. As a member of the baseball team he added an uncanny speed to the base paths sitting 2nd all-time in the record books for triples in a season with limited play. He was better known for his football skills, however; with reckless abandon, Steve was a multi Pac-10 all-academic member who was a part of every play. A member of the 1997-98 Rose Bowl team and co-captain his RS Junior and Senior seasons, Gleason not only will always be in the hearts of Cougars everywhere but a part of Cougar history.
Steve Gleason always out-played his size and that dedication and commitment led him to a seven-year career with the New Orleans Saints. While with the Saints he became the man responsible for what some say is the greatest if not most important play in Saints history, a blocked punt in the opening moments of the Saints first home game after Hurricane Katrina. Wherever Steve has been he has made an impact on people around him. Here are just a few of the off the field contributions that Steve has made for others (courtesy of Team-gleason.com)
In September 2003, Gleason formed the One Sweet World Foundation, a charitable foundation that focuses on literacy and environmentalism. In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, Gleason’s foundation launched "Backpacks for Hope", an initiative to provide relief to young hurricane victims in the form of backpacks and school supplies. The initiative provided roughly $500,000 of relief to students and families in the New Orleans and Gulf Coast areas.
He spent much of his career visiting patients at the New Orleans Children’s Hospital.
Gleason, known for his long locks hanging out of this helmet, regularly donated his hair to "Locks for Love", which provides hair for wigs for children with cancer.
I would like to propose a way to honor and support Steve as he now faces his greatest challenge, a debilitating and fatal disease called ALS. Less than 14 percent of patients with this dreadful disease survive beyond 5 years of diagnosis. It is because of this small window that we should what we can to show support and raise awareness.
While at WSU Steve wore the number 34. I thought that a nice way to honor Steve and others with ALS would be to dedicate the two 34 yard lines to them with Crimson and Gray stripes across the field for the remainder of our home games. In addition it would be nice to be able to have Steve (if possible) out to the next home game versus Standford to present the stripes. It would also be a great gesture if we can donate a portion of the door fees for the 5th Quarter dinner to Steve's Foundation Team Gleason.
"Better Now Than Never" - Steve Gleason
Thank you for your time.