No White Flags – NFL Films documents Steve Gleason’s journey to Machu Picchu

Behind the Scenes, Charlie Askew, New Orleans Saints, NFL Films Presents
Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu

Editor’s Note: Tune in to “NFL Films Presents: Steve Gleason – No White Flags” on the NFL Network tonight, Sept. 17th, at 10:30pm EST or tomorrow, Sept. 18th, at 3:00pm EST. 

In April of 2013, NFL Films flew to Peru to document the epic journey of Steve Gleason to Machu Pichhu. The crew consisted Mark Ricci, Kevin Simkins, Ben Johnson and myself.

Before I left for Peru, I thought I was prepared for the trip. I did my research, trained a little harder at the gym, bought new hiking gear and packed everything on my list.  It didn’t take very long before I came to the realization that nothing I brought with me in my suitcase was important.

I thought I knew what strength was until I saw Team Gleason push themselves beyond exhaustion. I thought I knew what friendship was until I witnessed men like Scott Fujita, Blair Casey, and others care for Steve’s every need with love and compassion. I thought I knew what trust was too; then I saw two men allow themselves to be carried by strangers and friends, inches from the edge of the Andes mountains. Steve and Team Gleason taught me a lot during that week in South America. No one gave up. No one complained. No one surrendered.

“No White Flags” isn’t a just a tag line, it truly is a way of life for Steve, Michel and Team Gleason.

If they faced adversity, they found a way to overcome it. Whether it was using a piece of bamboo and zip ties to fix a chair, or cell phones to light the way on the Inca trail once night fell, everyone was in it till the end. Even in the darkest of times on the trip, someone was there to lift everyone’s spirits.

His wife is a Saint. His son, an Angel. His team…AWESOME.

My crew and I were welcomed with open arms, and without hesitation. Everyone made us feel like we were part of the family…part of Team Gleason. This was as much a spiritual journey as a physical one, and one which I will not soon forget.

Tune in to “NFL Films Presents: Steve Gleason – No White Flags” on the NFL Network tonight, Sept. 17th, at 10:30pm EST or tomorrow, Sept. 18th, at 3:00pm EST.

For more information or to donate to Team Gleason, visit http://www.teamgleason.org/

-Charlie Askew, NFL Films Producer

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