Arnold Schwarzenegger, Joe Manganiello and Sofia Vergara collaborated this weekend to give a surprise donation to a Los Angeles firefighter who was diagnosed with a devastating and life-threatening disease just a month after his wedding.
They watched professional weightlifters compete at the Arnold Strongman USA competition in Santa Monica on Saturday. The annual contest serves as a fundraiser for the Santa Monica Firefighters Relief Fund, CalFire Benevolent Foundation and the Ventura County Widows and Orphans Fund.
During the event, organizers invited 30-year-old firefighter Eric Stevens, who was diagnosed in August with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS. This is a deadly neurological that slowly takes away a person’s ability to control their muscles.
Stevens got married to his longtime love, Amanda Stevens and he received the heartbreaking news just weeks after their marriage. The couple shared their story with hundreds of the attendees and they were surprised with a $10,000 donation funded by earnings from the event’s three charities.
The donation will be helpful for Steven to get treatments for the disease, which currently has no known cure. After the announcement, Schwarzenegger came in support to say he was matching the $10,000 donation.
But the surprise didn’t end here as Manganiello said that he and Vergara, were matching the contribution too. The couple raised a whopping $30,000 toward their struggles in a single day.
“We are so incredibly thankful for the amazing support today! It’s important for us to raise awareness and educate people as there are many families like us suffering due to this disease,” the couple wrote on their Team Stevens Nation Instagram page after the event. “Thank you from the bottom of our hearts!”
The disease affects the nerve cells in the brain and spine of the person that control muscle movement and the patients slowly lose their ability to speak, eat, walk and breathe on their own.
“You’re racing against time every day, you’re just slowly deteriorating,” Stevens told KTLA in November. “The multiple doctors that we’ve seen, they’re sitting there telling you all these great things that are coming, but they’re stuck in these trials.”
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