The Brigance Brigade Foundation was not something O.J. and Chanda Brigance envisioned creating. After a 12-year career on the football field, O.J. retired and shortly thereafter took a position in the front office of the Baltimore Ravens. It was the perfect position. He was still connected to a game he grew up with and dearly loved, but more importantly, the position gave him the opportunity to work with the players. With a football career comes many new changes and challenges, O.J.’s position allowed him to be there for the players as a grounded person they could turn to to help them make the best decisions.
In 2007, while playing racquetball at the Ravens’ facility O.J. noticed a change in his right arm. He didn’t have the same strength and range of motion. He met with one of the top neurologists in the Baltimore area, and after a battery of tests, he and his wife Chanda were given the diagnosis of ALS.
A diagnosis such as this would rock anyone to the core. It was O.J. and Chanda’s faith that helped them find the strength to accept the diagnosis, and make the decision that the diagnosis would not define them. They would work through this with the support of family and friends.
The outpouring of love, support and encouragement was overwhelming. O.J. and Chanda felt blessed they had the ability financially, emotionally and spiritually to deal with the hand that had been dealt to them. What of others in the same situation? Did other people receiving this diagnosis know where to turn for information? Did they have the financial means to pay for the equipment, handicap accessible vans and everything else you need to live a quality life? It was these selfless thoughts that led O.J. and Chanda to create the Brigance Brigade Foundation.