In all the hubbub earlier this week of the Seattle Seahawks winning the Super Bowl and then signing day, we never paused to appreciate Steve Gleason's contribution to Super Sunday.
Gleason is a former WSU football player who suffers from amytrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), and he was the centerpiece for a Microsoft ad (above) telling the world what technology can do. Because of the debilitating effects of the disease, Gleason has lost the use of his extremities, and even his voice.
Yet, he narrated the commercial, thanks to the eye-tracking technology that allows him to type sentences and have them spoken in his own voice. The software runs on a Windows operating system.
The ad was perfectly Gleason -- even as the disease has taken so much from his physical abilities, he continues to show that a life with ALS is one that still can be lived fully, thanks in large part to technological advancements. Where ALS patients in years past have been rendered voiceless, Gleason is able to communicate in powerful ways:
What can technology do? Until we find a medical cure, its my "cure". Spoiler. Heres the official SB commercial: http://t.co/r5R9D1E0vW -SG— steve gleason (@TeamGleason) February 2, 2014
He live-tweeted the Super Bowl, and no, he has not lost his sense of humor:
I just went to http://t.co/d9QrpZilia and bought a crate of Doritos and a Mazarati, and I cant even eat or drive. #SBCommercials -SG— steve gleason (@TeamGleason) February 2, 2014
Nor does he ever miss out on a chance to remind people what's important. As has been his message since his diagnosis, the should be No White Flags for any of us:
Appropriate win or lose: Heres football |--| Heres life |-------------------------------| #GetBusyLivin -SG— steve gleason (@TeamGleason) February 3, 2014
Life is a terminal disease. #KeepExploring -SG— steve gleason (@TeamGleason) February 7, 2014
It's worth your time to watch the video below, as well, which goes more in depth into how technology helps Gleason live his daily life. If it's not just a little dusty when you see him interacting with his son, Rivers, you might want to check to make sure you still have a pulse.
And if you want to donate to Team Gleason, you can do that here.