Wife of Firefighter and Former Rams Player Diagnosed with ALS at Age 29 Expecting First Child
Nearly one year after he received a devastating ALS diagnosis, firefighter and former St. Louis Rams player Eric Stevens is now celebrating happy news: he’s going to be a father.
Stevens, 30, and his wife Amanda, 29, announced this weekend they’re expecting their first child together in January.
“Eric, Amanda and Duke are adding one to the team!👶🏼” the couple wrote on Instagram. “Baby Stevens due January 2021!💗 #axeALS”
“We are so excited to meet you, little one!” Amanda added on her personal Instagram page.
The couple — who celebrated their one-year wedding anniversary on July 27 — are expecting a baby girl, they told KTLA.
The pair shared a series of photos showing off Amanda’s bump, and included their dog Duke in the fun, too, wearing a bandana that declared him a “big brother.”
“I think this little girl will give us some more motivation and inspiration to keep doing what we’re doing and we’re just really hopeful that it will pay off and we can live a great life with our little girl,” Stevens told KTLA.
The pregnancy news comes just about one year after Stevens was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, a neurodegenerative disease with no known cure that typically claims the lives of patients within three to five years.
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Since his diagnosis, Stevens, who joined the Los Angeles Fire Department in 2015, and his wife have spent the last 12 months advocating for legislation relating to the disease, including H.R. 7071.
According to KTLA, the bill, which needs additional support before it can reach a vote, will “create infrastructure to fund early access to promising therapies discovered through clinical trials for patients with ALS.”
“We’re telling everyone who wants to help to please contact your representative and ask them to co-sponsor this bill,” Amanda told the outlet.
A GoFundMe the couple launched last October for Stevens — who is the former captain of the University of California, Berkeley football team — has raised more than $1 million.
Though there is no cure for ALS, treatments and clinical trials can help slow its progression.
Because the disease affects the nerve cells in the brain and spine that control muscle movement, patients slowly lose their ability to speak, eat, walk and breathe on their own. Patients diagnosed with ALS first experience twitching or weakness in a limb, followed by slurred speech, according to the Mayo Clinic.
In spite of the heartache the couple has had to overcome in the last year, Amanda celebrated their first year of marriage with a sweet Instagram post reflecting on their wedding day, which she called “the best day of our lives.”
“Even though this has been the hardest year of our lives, it has brought us closer than ever,” she wrote. “I didn’t think it was possible, but I fall more and more in love with you each and every day. You make me the happiest girl in the world and I am so lucky to live this crazy life with you.”