Couple hopes radio show snafu will raise ALS awareness - KMSP-TV

Couple hopes radio show snafu will raise ALS awareness

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Hope and Steve Dezember hope the controversy over the fired Atlanta radio show hosts will lead to more awareness for ALS. Hope and Steve Dezember hope the controversy over the fired Atlanta radio show hosts will lead to more awareness for ALS.
ATLANTA -

A local couple is happy to hear that members of a morning radio show fired for mocking a former ex-NFL star battling ALS now admit that they went too far.

On Monday, the "Mayhem in the AM" show on 790 the Zone did a mock interview with Steve Gleason, a former New Orleans Saints player who is battling amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).  The three hosts, Steak Shapiro, Nick Cellini, and Chris Dimino, were all later fired after news of the skit sparked outrage across the country.

All of the fired hosts have apologized through social media. Gleason's foundation, Team Gleason, issued a statement saying that the apologies were accepted.

A local couple said they were also glad to hear of the apology. Hope and Steve Dezember said that ALS is no laughing matter.

"Nobody really understands what ALS is unless you live it," said Hope.

Two years ago, Steve was diagnosed with the incurable, degenerative disease when he was 28. He told his then-girlfriend, Hope, that she didn't have to stick around.

"He said, ‘This is going to be very hard, I'm going to deteriorate inn 2 to 5 years, you don't have to stay,'" said Hope.

She not only stayed, she married him, and has been by Steve's side as ALS has quickly robbed his body of his motor skills.

Hope believes the former morning crew at 790 the Zone truly didn't understand that the disease is nothing to joke about.   

The very technology that the hosts made fun of is what Steve Dezember will now be using to speak thanks to Team Gleason.  

Hope has become friends with Steve Gleason's wife, Michel. When Steve lost his ability to speak, the Gleasons sent them an eye gazer computer program to help Steve communicate.

In the end, the Gleasons hope that the controversy surrounding the fired Atlanta radio show hosts will bring more awareness to ALS.

"I appreciate that they actually came back, apologized and realized that it was in the wrong, and they did the right thing and look at how much attention ALS is getting," Hope said.

The Dezembers have been telling their story through Hopeforsteve.com. They want to bring awareness to ALS and let the world know this can happen to anyone.

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