Skip to content
November 9, 2016 / tgexp

Derrick Hatcher, Alaskan Cruise 2016

Thanks to funds donated to The Gleason Initiative Foundation, Team Gleason was able to send Derrick Hatcher, his wife Beth, and their daughter on an Alaskan Cruise to enjoy the sights, great food, and memorable time with family! 

Beth Hatcher wrote to tell us “We had an amazing time! Derrick was moved to tears. And traveling with someone with ALS takes an army, but can be done!!! While traveling with Derrick was very difficult, we were very prepared and accomplished everything smoothly. I’m so glad we got to take this trip as a family.”

The first few days on their Adventure, the Hatcher Family was able to see Seattle, WA, the Dawes Glacier in Endicott Arm Fjord, numerous “breathtaking views” on the White Pass and Yukon Route Railroad in British Columbia, and have a King Crab meal in Skagway. Derrick and Beth took the Mount Roberts Tramway to see a live rescued Bald Eagle display and some panoramic views of the Gastineau Channel and the city itself.

The favorite excursion however happened in Ketchikan, AK. “We took a ride on the Aleutian Ballad, a Bering Sea crab fishing boat.  The crew was fantastic and took great care of us.  The let us up to see things first, so Derrick wouldn’t be blocked by others.  And they let us stay behind after everyone had gotten off the boat and took pictures with us and gave us a little extra attention.  Derrick was very moved.”

Rounding up the trip Derrick and his family stopped in Victoria, B.C.  They enjoyed some delicious fish and chips at the Bard & Banker Public House as well as listen to live music “which [Derrick and Beth] haven’t gotten to do in ages. We both love music very much and often attended concerts”.  From Victoria the Hatchers returned home in Tennessee at about 1:30 a.m. from Seattle. A very long day for Derrick.

The Hatchers told Team Gleason “We had a fabulous time and are so grateful for the experience!! I am so grateful for the memories, just thinking about the trip makes me a little emotional. Thank you so much!”

June 7, 2016 / tgexp

Shane Rogers, Jamaica 2016

With the funds donated to The Gleason Initiative Foundation, Team Gleason was able to pay for Shane Rogers, his wife Christie, and their two children to vacation in Jamaica! Below is a letter we received from Christie about their trip.

Hello, Christie Rogers here.  Just wanted to say thank you so much for your support for our Jamaica Vacation.  We had an excellent time.  The kids and Shane and I will certainly cherish the memories we were able to make thanks to you. .  We were able to snorkel a bit, go on a glass bottom boat ride, and Shane and I just relaxed by the pool or Oceanside and watched the kids swimming and trying to catch crabs on the beach.  The kids even got to try out scuba equipment in the pool.  Everyone at the resort was super nice, and there was always something good to eat at any time of day.

I cannot express what this trip meant to all of us.  Timing is everything, Shane had an appointment with his Dr. when we returned, she told him his disease if starting to progress at a faster rate and that he has to use either his walker or wheelchair from now on, and that a cane is no longer enough, so the memories will be even more precious.

As promised we took a lot of pictures, I  selected a few to pass on to you.

Let me know if the pictures get to you ok, and again, thank you so very much.  Possibly the only chance we will ever have in our lifetime to do something like this and we will never forget it.

God bless you all.

Christie Rogers


May 4, 2016 / tgexp

Sarah Coglianese, Jazz Fest 2016 New Orleans, LA

With the funds donated to The Gleason Initiative Foundation, Team Gleason was able to bring Sarah Coglianese, her husband Rob, and their beautiful daughter Scarlett to New Orleans for Jazz Fest! The weather had a different plan and Jazz Fest ended up being cancelled on Saturday, but that allowed for a fun day of hanging with them over at Steve’s house. Sometimes things just happen for a reason. Sarah is an incredible writer, so we will let her tell you about the trip. You can follow her blog at


May 2, 2016

I am overflowing with words and nothing can keep up with me. Definitely not my own mouth, not my dictation device, not my energy level, that last whittled down by a late-night arrival into San Francisco after a trip to New Orleans that feels almost like it was a dream.

It’s May. It’s ALS awareness month. That’s worth discussing for an entire blog post. But not today. Rob just got home from work. He said there are two huge boxes outside, and then brought them in. Wedges for my bed, sent by Team Gleason when I was clearly envious of Steve’s. A kind gift on top of a weekend of kindness.

For anyone who’s not familiar with Team Gleason or Steve Gleason, the quick story is that Steve was a safety with the New Orleans Saints, and was diagnosed with ALS in 2011. Since that time, he and his organization have worked to make life easier for other people with ALS. Steve focuses on technology, and on being proactive in the face of the disease. Through the Adventures side of his team, people with ALS have been invited to experience the kinds of things they might have assumed were beyond them post-diagnosis.

That’s where we come in, with an unexpected email I received one day in March, asking if there was any chance we could pull ourselves together for a trip to New Orleans and Jazz Fest. Rob was just starting a new job, and this trip would take place on week two. Scarlett’s spring break had just ended, and we would have to take her out of school. As for me, I was free as a bird, but a little less confident about flying.

It took us three minutes to decide we were in. We didn’t want to miss this opportunity to meet Steve, to see amazing music, to explore a new city, to see if Scarlett liked beignets (spoiler alert: She did not. But she did enjoy licking the powdered sugar off and then having a meltdown 15 minutes later during Paul Simon’s set. Great fun for all.)

And I flew! In a plane, which hasn’t happened since last May. I thought it might never happen again. The flight was uneventful, which is really all you can hope for, although my butt was hurting a lot during the end, and I think Rob was starting to get annoyed with me for hissing at him about it. If you have padding on your butt, just enjoy it. Don’t try to get rid of it. For me, sitting down often feels like I’m balancing on two ice skate blades. I never did have a good butt.

In another exciting turn of events, my youngest brother found out we would be in New Orleans, and decided to drive down from Chicago with his girlfriend to hang out with us. Total bonus.

And suddenly there we were, at a hotel in The Big Easy on Friday morning. And several hours later, there we still were, in the hotel room. It was taking forever to get moving. If anyone was at fault, it was me, because I was having ALS related stomach issues upon which I will not elaborate, except to say that if you dehydrate yourself for hours on end so as not to use the airplane lavatory, you will pay the price for it later.

I sat and tried to drink a cup of tea, while Scarlett played on an iPad that she had decorated with Team Gleason stickers, and Rob caught up on some work. But I felt frustrated, like we were missing something by not being out in the world of New Orleans at every moment. Then I looked around the room at my family, and I realized that there will come a time, probably for everyone alive, when they would give anything to sit in a hotel room comfortably with the people they love, and just do nothing. So I decided to go with that. Even though we’re no longer quick to go anywhere, even though my body loves to come up with new ways to slow me down, there I was and it was all good.

This is an ALS mind game I play often. It’s pretty simple and it works like this: something awful, worse than ALS happened, and I traded it for this life. I chose ALS. So now there’s no complaining, because I got what I asked for, and I can handle it. It’s better than the alternative, even if I’m not sure what the alternative was, and even though I know that life is not actually a fairytale.

Except, maybe in some ways it is. On Saturday, we went to Steve’s home, which was full of friends and family. At one point I was laughing so hard, I had to ask them to stop being funny because I was starting to get dizzy. When the rain came, and Jazz Fest was canceled for the day, no one cared. We ordered pizza, and watched videos of Steve’s best friend Tony prank calling everyone they know. Scarlett was in heaven playing with four-year-old Rivers Gleason.

We were whisked away to another land, we laughed and ate and made new friends. We had an adventure. And while we were there, amidst all the smiling faces, Scarlett walked up to me and said “This is the life.”


April 29, 2016 / tgexp

Bobby Forster, French Quarter Fest in New Orleans, LA

With the funds donated to The Gleason Initiative Foundation from Bobby Forster’s former employer, Need a Ride Pedicabs, Team Gleason was able to bring Bobby back to New Orleans, LA for French Quarter Fest!  Bobby’s friends and fellow pedicabbers put on a fundraiser for him while he was in New Orleans to help with his medical expenses.  He is a special guy and much deserving of a fun adventure back to a city he loves, New Orleans!  Here is the letter Bobby wrote to Team Gleason after his Big Adventure to the Big Easy! 


Dear Team Gleason,

Thank you so much for making my recent trip to New Orleans a reality for me. New Orleans is a place that I hold near and dear to my heart. The last time I was in New Orleans was two Mardi Gras ago. It was while marching in Muses that I proposed to my wife Casey. I have wanted to get back sooner, but complications with ALS made it difficult to travel for a while.
While I was here, I was literally able to see over a hundred friends that I have been missing dearly. I got to go to a great event that my friends put on as a fundraiser for me. I went to a boil. I went and got a Parkway poboy and ate it at Bayou St. John. I was able to enjoy French Quarter Festival and hear some incredible music that I rocked out to with friends. Most importantly I got to be a normal person and just relax with people I love and make unforgettable memories.
This trip literally meant the world to me. I am sure you all have felt this before, but when you are away from New Orleans for too long, you literally ache to be back. I am so thankful that you guys made it possible for me to come home and see my New Orleans family.
Bobby Forster
February 19, 2016 / tgexp

Waka Kickball Tournament to benefit Team Gleason

On Saturday, November 14th, hundreds gathered in City Park to play in the kickball tournament of the year! Waka Kickball league hosts the Waka Charity Kickball tournament in the fall to raise money, awareness, and support for Team Gleason.

Players were lead by Jennifer Gaubert in the National Anthem followed by a half-time performance by the Sirens of New Orleans. This year, more than $20,000 was raised for The Gleason Initiative Foundation by team entry fees, raffles, jello-shot sales, merchandise sales, a percentage of Parlay’s bar sales and other misc. donations from various individuals and corporate sponsors. Steve even joined the fun for the majority of the event!

We would like to send a huge thanks to Sean Gaubert, the Director of the New Orleans Waka Chapter, and Tabitha Diecidue for their tireless efforts in making this event happen year after year. The continued success of this event is a direct reflection of their continued support and dedication to Team Gleason.

Team Gleason loves Waka Kickball!


February 19, 2016 / tgexp

Roxanne Green, Receives Eye Technology

With the funds donated to the Gleason Initiative Foundation, Team Gleason was able to provide Roxanne Green with a Tobii Eye Gaze System.


“First of all, I want to thank The Steve Gleason Foundation and Steve Gleason and his family for my Tobii. I want you to know how important it is to me and my family. It has helped me to communicate with the outside world in so many ways. My boys get so excited when they hear me talk with the Tobii, they laugh and laugh and always want me to say their names. My family and I are believing for a healing or cure everyday.” – Roxanne Green

Roxanne is a mother of 4 boys. She says her sons make getting out of bed worth it everyday. With the help of her communication device, Roxanne remains an active and vital part of her children’s lives. She can communicate with teachers through email and text as well as check on homework, projects and grades again.


October 14, 2015 / tgexp

Chuck Breath Anniversary Surprise

The Breath’s Anniversary Surprise – A Team Gleason Adventure full of wonderful memories…

What a day and what a surprise! This year Chuck and Ellen Breath celebrated 47 years of marriage. Little did they know on Valentines Day they were going to spend the day surrounded by many friends and family at one of their favorite locations, The Grand Hotel at Point Clear, Alabama.


Chuck was diagnosed with ALS a little over three years ago. Ellen is his wonderful caregiver who tirelessly makes sure he has all the care he needs with much love and support. Team Gleason has been an invaluable source of knowledge, compassion and support during Chuck’s fight against ALS.


Team Gleason and the family wanted to do something special for them, but what? This is where the idea for a destination celebration started. Everyone involved in the planning wanted it to be a surprise, but that was easier said than done.


Chuck and Ellen’s daughter, Missy , started contacting family members and long time friends to save the date. Everyone was excited and looking forward to it.


As the date got closer, the secret was getting harder to keep. They knew something was up, but couldn’t quite figure it out. When the weekend finally arrived they were very excited.


That morning Ellen and Chuck were ready for the “small” family brunch and made their way to the main event room. Along the way there started seeing friends of theirs that were waiting for them to arrive. At first they thought it was just a coincidence, but then realize that it was going to be a get together of many friends and family.


When they entered the ballroom, they were greeted and cheered by a LARGE group of friends and family! The ambiance was spectacular with great food, a great jazz band, beautiful decorations and a great water view. The room had been decorated with a nautical theme in honor of Chuck’s love to boating and to coincide his theme “Sink ALS”.


During the brunch many memories were shared and toasts made in honor of Chuck and Ellen.


Chuck and Ellen were genuinely surprised and enjoyed spending the special occasion with everyone. The joy and the happiness that this event brought to them could not be missed.


Many thanks to Team Gleason, Mr. Paul Varisco, Suzanne Alford, and Liz Chapaton for making this event SO special and providing such a memorable time for all involved! And a special thanks, to our beacon of hope, Steve and Michel for leading all the pAlS in the fight against ALS.


The Breath Family