Friday, November 18
6:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m., ET
Ernest N. Morial Convention Center
The Awards Ceremony celebrates high achievements and excellence in the professions. Awards presented this evening include the Honors of the Association—ASHA's most prestigious award, which recognizes lifetime achievement—and ASHA Fellows, whose recipients' contributions are the cornerstones of the communication sciences and disorders (CSD) professions. ASHA will present additional awards to honor other members who have also contributed to the professions and to ASHA.
The Annie Glenn Award is also given each year at the Awards Ceremony. Annie Glenn, wife of Senator John Glenn, is known nationwide for her advocacy for those with communication disorders. "The Annie" recognizes an individual who demonstrates Mrs. Glenn's spirit by making a positive impact on those with communication disorders. This beloved award is a perpetual highlight of the ASHA Convention.
We are honored to present the 2022 Annie Glenn Award to Steve Gleason and his wife, Michel. Steve Gleason played football with the New Orleans Saints from 2000 to 2008 and is celebrated for his rallying role in the Saints’ first game after Katrina. He was later diagnosed with ALS in 2011. After his diagnosis, Steve was determined to help others, so he and Michel created Team Gleason Foundation, their organization dedicated to providing equipment, technology, services, care, and life-changing adventures for people living with ALS. When Steve received his ALS diagnosis, he famously said there will be “No White Flags,” which became Team Gleason’s mantra. Together, Steve and Michel grew Team Gleason into a leading force for promoting assistive technology innovation and delivering assistive technology and other services to thousands of people.
From the early moments after his ALS diagnosis, when Steve started documenting their journey* to the present day, the Gleasons have always held their family at the heart of their work. Like the Gleasons, Mrs. Glenn understood that communication disorders had far-reaching effects when she said, “Communication disorders do not rest in a solitary soul. They impact families. Mothers, fathers, sons and daughters, sisters and brothers and husbands and wives struggle together, and overcome, in some way, by working together.” Steve and Michel Gleason represent the very core of what Mrs. Glenn meant in that statement—families share in the successes and struggles of individuals with communication disorders. Steve has made it his mission to show that ALS patients can not only live, but thrive, after diagnosis. Michel embodies the balance of vulnerability, love, and frustration, which she shared publicly and has channeled into determination to prevail.
Our 2022 Convention theme, “Reframe your Thinking: Resilience Reinvented,” is a challenge to reexamine how we think of resilience. Both Steve and Michel personify resilience. Like ASHA members, affiliates, and researchers helping patients and clients be more resilient, Steve and Michel have led Team Gleason’s incredible work to help thousands of individuals with communication disorders to live their best lives.
Steve’s efforts to improve the lives of those living with ALS extend beyond Team Gleason. In 2015, after years of advocacy, the Steve Gleason Act was signed into law, ensuring access to all people who need assistive communication devices. In 2018, the Steve Gleason Enduring Voices Act was passed to replace the original law, which made the devices eligible for Medicaid and Medicare reimbursement. In 2020, Steve was awarded the U.S. Congressional Gold Medal, the nation’s highest civilian honor, for his work as an ALS advocate and an icon of hope through adversity.
The Gleasons exemplify the spirit of the Annie Glenn Award. We are certain that their story, their resilience, and their tireless work to provide solutions to individuals with communication disorders related to ALS will inspire you.
Join us on Friday evening as we honor the achievements of colleagues in the professions and award “the Annie” to our very special guests, Steve and Michel Gleason.
*You can learn more about the Gleasons’ story by watching the documentary Gleason, available through Amazon Prime.