Ellen DeGeneres had a huge surprise in store when a former NFL player turned firefighter diagnosed with ALS returned to her show.
Six months ago, Eric Stevens, 30, received the devastating news amid preparations for his wedding to now-wife Amanda.
After they were first invited to appear on “The Ellen Show” last November, the brave couple returned this week to discuss their mission to spread awareness of the disease.
Eric said, “I’m feeling good. I’m definitely progressing but I feel very fortunate that I can still walk and I still have my voice.”
Eric and Amanda recently travelled to Washington, D.C., to meet with politicians about promising new treatments for ALS.
Amanda explained: “Since we’ve been on the show we’ve been advocating like crazy. We just want to bring more awareness to this disease and really tell people what ALS patients are going through. We travelled to Washington, D.C., and met with congressmen and senators and we explained to them what Eric is going through and what all these 30,000 Americans are going through and how we can create some type of legislation to allow patients to get treatments so that they can fight for their lives.”
Eric added, “Not many people are aware that, for the first time ever, there is promising treatment for ALS.”
Thanking his wife for her incredible support, he said, “Words can’t express how happy I am, she’s just an absolute rock star.”
Clearly moved by the couple’s plight, Ellen gave them a platform to advocate for the disease.
“We’re going to keep fighting like crazy and we’re going to keep raising awareness and doing everything we can too because it’s crazy that there are treatments sitting there.”
Ellen and her friends at Shutterfly then surprised the inspiring newlyweds with $100,000 for a down payment on their first home.
When Ellen asked Eric how his perspective has changed since his diagnosis, he replied, “You have to take it one day at a time and today is my best day. I get to sit here with my wife and I get to sit here with you and have a conversation… I feel super-fortunate to still have that, I guess.”