Charity gave NC man with ALS Super Bowl tickets. He died heading to the game, cops say

Ed Cushman died on his way to Super Bowl LIII.
Ed Cushman died on his way to Super Bowl LIII. Facebook screen grab

It was going to be a dream come true.

A North Carolina man with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, had been given tickets to Super Bowl LIII and was on his way to the NFL’s championship game with his brother, WVUE reported.

But Ed Cushman never made it to Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.

He was trapped inside of a burning vehicle and died Saturday on the side of I-85, according to WWL.

“Please be in prayer for our family. We lost my brother, Edward Craig Cushman, in a freak accident while we were driving to Atlanta yesterday,” Rob Cushman wrote on Facebook. “While we are devastated, we are happy he is no longer suffering from the pain of ALS.”

Ed Cushman had been given tickets to the Super Bowl from Team Gleason, per WDSU. The charity was created to care for people suffering from ALS, including its namesake former New Orleans Saints player Steve Gleason, according to its website.

“Our brief relationship with Ed’s family was filled with excitement, as Team Gleason secured the (Americans with Disabilities Act) Super Bowl tickets he requested,” the charity said in a statement, reported by WVUE. “Like so many with ALS, Ed was passionate about living and he dreamed of going to the Super Bowl. We were honored to have played a small role in helping make that possible for such an amazing man.”

Georgia State Patrol said the 39-year-old from Shelby, NC was headed to Atlanta in a 2007 Dodge Caravan when it “started smoking underneath so the driver pulled to the shoulder of the roadway to examine the source,” according to WWL.

Soon smoke and flames “poured” and “erupted” out of the Dodge, Georgia authorities said, the Advocate reported. When his brother tried to rescue Ed Cushman, who was on a ventilator and seated in a wheelchair, state patrol said “the flames became too intense,” according to the Advocate.

“Words cannot express how shocked we are for Ed and his entire family,” Team Gleason said in the statement, per WDSU. “We remain committed to the ALS community and Ed’s family in this time of incredible sadness.”

Vivian Connell, teacher and activist, posted her "ice bucket challenge" video in 2014. The teacher-turned-activist died Monday at age 52, silenced by ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.

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Noah Feit is a Real Time reporter with The State and McClatchy Carolinas Regional Team. The award-winning journalist has worked for multiple newspapers since starting his career in 1999.