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article imageHope for Steve: An inspiring tale Special

By Tim Sandle     May 25, 2014 in Lifestyle
In August of 2011 Steve Dezember II was diagnosed with ALS, otherwise known as Lou Gehrig's Disease (a progressive neurodegenerative disease). A moving film has been made about his life.
Steve Dezember II and his girlfriend Hope had only been together for six months when he got some sad news: the diagnosis was ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease) and time was quickly running out. The very next day Steve asked Hope to marry him, and she did – promising to remain by his side till the very end. The organizers of the project contacted the Digital Journal to explain what the project is about.
ALS is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. The disorder is characterized by rapidly progressive weakness, muscle atrophy and fasciculations, muscle spasticity, difficulty speaking, difficulty swallowing, and decline in breathing ability.
A special movie and campaign have been put together, called 'Hope for Steve', to spread awareness and most importantly HOPE for all those diagnosed with this horrible condition.
The project came about when Hope and Steve went on a crusade – a personal journey to serve as a source of inspiration for others and raise awareness about ALS. Together they made a documentary of the last three years to show others what a determined couple can do in the fight against a killer disease. In the documentary, Steve says "It's hard most days to get out of bed. Despite that, my spirit is not broken and I will not let my quick deterioration discourage me from staying positive."
The documentary, Hope for Steve, also includes a personal performance by singing star Michael Franti, where he is featured serenading Steve during visits at the hospital and his home. Dave Matthews is also featured and has granted the rights for his music to be used throughout the documentary.
Sadly, the journey is almost over for Steve. According to the campaign organizers, Steve is down to 90 pounds and is no longer able to eat, breathe or speak on his own. Steve's last blog entry, where he has been documenting his condition, on March 25, reads:
"Though ALS is a very hard thing to deal with it has shown me that there are wonderful things about humanity that are still out there. Examples of this are present everyday through: people sending positive messages, people walking up to me & Hope Cross Dezember & saying God bless you or something kind, giving Hope praise for taking care of me & not leaving me, people waving or beeping when they see the van, and most recently we've had a musician/artist Michael Franti reach out & say he would like to meet me & Hope at a festival we are going to as he thinks we are an inspiration."
The doctors say he only has weeks, and although he knows he will shortly succumb to ALS, he has one final wish: to see the release of the documentary reach others – which he says will give those fighting ALS and other terminal illnesses a “Hope” of their own, and let them know they should never give up and always remain strong.
More about hope for steve, neurodegenerative disease, Lou Gehrig's disease, Steve Dezember, Michael Franti
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