Steven Gallagher has chosen hope and optimism over despair and gloom time and time again; H-O-P-E are four letters that have guided him over the past three years and throughout his life.

Those who follow Steve on social media know he has been very open and vulnerable about his experience with ALS since being diagnosed in 2019 at the age of 47. What many people don’t know is this isn’t the first time he has had to deal with a serious illness. When Steve was seven years old his father died from multiple sclerosis. When he was a teenager, his mother died suddenly from a brain aneurysm. As a father now to an eight-year-old daughter named Olivia, the knowledge she might lose her dad at a young age devastated him.

When Steve thinks about the potential new therapies and research that are in the pipeline, and when he thinks about the positive momentum in the ALS community over the past few years, he finds renewed hope. Although his mobility has decreased, Steve is grateful to be on ALBRIOZA, the third approved treatment available in Canada, a positive reflection of the research underway and the ALS Canada research team’s commitment to keeping Canada top of mind for pharmaceutical companies in the ALS space. You can help ALS Canada continue its work by making a gift today.

As much as he chooses to live his life with courage, there are no shortage of challenges. Recently, Steve tweeted, “Some days my hope fades living with ALS. You’re constantly reminded of the beast wreaking havoc on your body. The weakness, the falls, the struggle to breathe. But then I’m inspired after seeing the bravery of fellow ALS warriors, and it restores my hope. Thank you.”

The irony of ALS is that it will often rob people like Steve of their voices, but he continues to use his voice to raise awareness and advocate with ALS Canada for equitable and timely access to therapies and meaningful policy changes for families living with ALS. “When I was diagnosed, I pledged to be an advocate and help raise awareness of a disease I knew very little about. I’ve been able to raise awareness through social media and media interviews, and by working closely with ALS Canada to support the cause,” Steve says.

For Steve, the present is all about savouring his time with family and friends and doing what makes them happy together. “I really try to cherish the moments and stay in the moment,” he says, adding that he hopes to continue to travel. “While I still can, I will continue to focus on what I CAN do, rather than dwell on what I can’t do.”

While I still can, I will support families living with ALS.

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Posted in: Advocacy, Stories