Former Cal Bears fullback Eric Stevens now is a Los Angeles City firefighter. He knows what it's like to put others' lives ahead of his own.
Now, his family hopes those will return the favor.
Stevens was diagnosed with ALS at the age of 29, soon after getting married to the woman of his dreams.
"The diagnosis and subsequent education they received about the horrific disease was the worst news one could ever imagine," a Facebook post dedicated to "Team Stevens Nation," described.
ALS, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis -- also known as Lou Gehrig's disease, is a debilitating and incurable disease that causes the death of neurons controlling voluntary muscles. With a life expectancy between two and five years, paralysis comes much quicker. And there is much unknown about it.
While there are many treatments going through clinical trials that are showing promise, there is still a 50 percent chance those could receive a placebo over the actual treatment.
"There is NO reason why a person with a terminal diagnosis should receive placebo over the actual treatment," the Facebook page explains. "Another downside to these clinical trials is they are a year-long process, and time is the one thing ALS patients don't have. Every single day without treatment is a day lost."
Those can donate to and share the family's GoFundMe page here.
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Eric Stevens played football at Cal Berkeley from 2008-2012. He was a senior captain for the Bears and went on to play in the NFL for the St. Louis Rams. On August 27, 2019 Eric was diagnosed with ALS at age 29. Please help share his story and spread the word to raise more awareness for this underfunded and under researched disease!! Let’s help Eric #axeALS!! #TeamStevensNation
Stevens, now 30, totaled 14 carries for 53 yards, and 13 catches for 82 yards and one touchdown in his career at Cal that spanned from 2008-2012. But despite playing sparingly, he was voted team captain.
He was signed by the Rams as an undrafted free agent in 2013, but never played a snap in the NFL.
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"Given his strong determination and success in anything he puts his mind to, Eric has chosen to fight and advocate for getting drugs and treatments available to patients NOW," the Facebook group wrote. "Eric's goal with the help of his family and friends is to raise awareness for ALS and act now toward getting treatments available."