Steelers Spotlight: Tunch Ilkin’s inspiring journey and his battle with ALS

Offensive lineman Tunch Ilkin #62 of the Pittsburgh Steelers. (Photo by George Gojkovich/Getty Images)
Offensive lineman Tunch Ilkin #62 of the Pittsburgh Steelers. (Photo by George Gojkovich/Getty Images) /
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Tunch Ilkin #62 of the Pittsburgh Steelers (Photo by George Gojkovich/Getty Images) /

Tunch Ilkin’s faith and his fight with ALS

On October 9th, 2020, Tunch Ilkin revealed he had ALS.  UPMC Presbyterian initially diagnosed Tunch with ALS. He then went to the Cleveland Clinic for confirmation of the diagnosis. A Diagnosis of ALS or Lou Gehrig’s Disease is not something one can ever be fully prepared to hear. There is no cure for ALS, and the disease slowly takes away one’s ability to function in life as your brain loses the ability to control the tour muscles. A kind of paralysis, except there, is no damage to your spinal cord. Your brain loses its ability to send the messages to move your arms

Upon receiving his news, Tunch took it in stride. He decided he would fight this thing, not by himself but with the help of God as well. Any former Steelers offensive lineman never takes anything lying down. Shortly after hearing the news, Tunch spoke to his friend at the Bible Chapel pastor Ron Moore. Ron had told Tunch he would not tell anyone and keep quiet and not share the news. Tunch said no, go out there and tell people about his ALS he needed prayer. Now when someone calls Tunch and asks, hey, what can I do for you, Tunch tells them to say a prayer for me. Prayer will help me beat this thing.

That’s not all Tunch does, though. He begins each day with his prayer walk for an hour each morning. During which he thanks God for bringing him to America, allowing him to play in the NFL, forgiving him of his sins, and not allowing him to die lost. From there, he lifts weights four days a week and jumps on his mini trampoline for a half-hour every day.

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Tunch Ilkin intends to show everyone, like the title of his book, he is a man forged in steel and will not let this disease stop him. That said, you can help Tunch as well, even if you have never met him. When you go to church this Sunday, and every Sunday after, just say a prayer for Tunch. If you do, who knows, he might beat ALS.