LOS ANGELES, Cali. (KTLA) – Los Angeles Fire Department firefighter Eric Stevens’ life changed forever when he was diagnosed with ALS, a fatal disease with no cure, in October.
Stevens is a San Pedro native who recently got married — about a month before he was diagnosed, according to the East Bay Times.
Before joining LAFD, Eric Stevens had a successful football career, serving as captain of UC Berkeley’s team and before joining the St. Louis Rams as a free agent in 2013.
Stevens went on to join LAFD in 2015, and in an Instagram post, the agency says he was “off to a strong career” — until he was diagnosed with ALS in October.
“Everything’s changed. It’s been completely flipped upside down,” Stevens said.
Also called amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, Lou Gehrig’s is a progressive disease that kills off neurons that control muscles throughout the body. There is no cure, and it will eventually turn fatal.
“The average life expectancy for an ALS patient is two to five years, and paralysis comes a lot sooner than that,” Stevens said.
Now, Stevens is working to spread awareness for the debilitating disease.
But like other patients, he’s frustrated with the lack of effective treatment. Some of those diagnosed, including Phil Green, participate in clinical trials that hope to use stem cells to treat the illness, also known as Lou Gherig’s Disease.
More information about Green’s battle with ALS is available on his website.
A GoFundMe campaign has been set up to help raise money for Stevens’ medical costs. As of Wednesday evening, it had raised nearly $74,000 of its $1 million goal.