The 2016 release of “Gleason,” a documentary mingled with heartache and inspiration, has people talking about living life with purpose.
The documentary follows the life of Steve Gleason, a former New Orleans Saints defensive back, who received the gut-wrenching diagnosis of ALS, commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. Weeks after the devastating diagnosis, Steve and his wife, Michel, learned they were expecting their first child. Given two to five years left to live, Steve began to document his life in video, as a gift to his unborn child.
Described as, “An emotional powerhouse, undeniably rewarding,” by film critic Geoff Berkshire, the film made its debut at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival. The film chronicles Steve’s determination to live a life of purpose, despite the struggle of adapting to a degenerating body.
The film explores the heartbreaking toll that living with ALS takes on a marriage, yet maintains an inspirational focus, such as the building of a foundation to provide other ALS patients with support.
“The disease takes away your entire physical body and almost always leaves your mind and eyes intact,” Gleason wrote in an email. “When diagnosed with ALS, most people are expected to fade quietly away and die.”