Former Titans LB Tim Shaw Pushes for ALS Resolution at State Capitol

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Former Titans linebacker Tim Shaw addressed the Senate and House of Representatives at the Tennessee State Capitol, making his pitch for a resolution submitted to the Tennessee General Assembly that will declare the month of May as ALS Awareness Month in Tennessee (watch speech).

Former Titans LB Tim Shaw addressed the Tennessee General Assembly, making a pitch that would declare the month of May as ALS Awareness Month in Tennessee.

"The world knows I have ALS, now what am I going to do about it?" Shaw posed to those in attendance.

Finding the answer to this question has taken Shaw, who was diagnosed with the disease last August, on a journey from little hope to finding strength to build a platform for change.

Often referred to as "Lou Gehrig's Disease," ALS is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that attacks nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord, leading to the loss of muscle control and eventually death. According to the ALS Association, the average life expectancy of someone living with ALS is just two to five years.

Shaw publicly revealed his diagnosis in August in a video posted to the Titans' website saying, "I'm here today to stand up and fight with all of you against this disease."

It is that promise that brought Shaw to the Tennessee State Capitol Building on Thursday.  He sees this resolution as an important opportunity to raise awareness for the disease on a state level, as well as push forward the conversation on ALS research.

"I notice one big similarity between a professional football player and politicians – and no, you all can't hit people like I do – but what we both have is influence," Shaw said while speaking from the floor of the House.

"The Ice Bucket Challenge has influenced my world greatly," he said. "I'm involved in a particular research study for ALS that was only funded for 20 people prior to the Ice Bucket Challenge. And now, due to the raising of those funds, 300 people with ALS can be involved in the study that I'm in. What the Ice Bucket Challenge does and what you all can do is bring hope to people with ALS, because right now we have no cure. We don't know what causes it, and we need help."

While the Ice Bucket Challenge raised millions of much-needed research dollars for ALS and generated awareness worldwide, Shaw emphasized that the conversation and heightened awareness cannot end there. He urged House and Senate members to "use your influence, to use your position for things that really matter, for people that really matter and for the causes that really matter."

People who really matter to Shaw are those living with ALS, living without treatment options or hope for a cure.

"It is my honor to stand up here not only for myself, but for everybody else with ALS," he said. "Together we can do great things."

Representatives from the ALS Association Tennessee Chapter were present for Shaw's speech, which received a standing ovation from everyone in attendance.

"The ALS Association Tennessee Chapter is honored to have Tim Shaw raising awareness and being an advocate for our organization," said Cheri Sanders, executive director of the ALS Association Tennessee Chapter. "He has formed a team with our Tennesseans with ALS to fight the disease, give encouragement, and work together to find a cause, treatment and a cure. He is helping to evolve the Ice Bucket Challenge moment into a movement."

For more information on the House Joint Resolution (No. 129) to declare May as MLS Awareness Month in Tennessee, visit http://www.capitol.tn.gov/Bills/109/Bill/HJR0139.pdf

Former Titans LB Tim Shaw, who was recently diagnosed with ALS, is honored as the 12th Titan and challenges Titans fans to the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge at LP Field. (Photos: Donn Jones, AP)

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