O.J. Brigance's fight against ALS never ceases.
The Ravens' senior advisor to player development will share his story at the opening of the 2013 National ALS Advocacy Day and Public Policy Conference tonight in Washington D.C.
Tomorrow and throughout the weekend, advocates from The ALS Association will meet with their Congressional representatives to* *stress the importance of continued funding for ALS research and other initiatives.
It's Brigance's first time attending the conference, and it's the first time they are having a rally to open the festivities. Former New Orleans Saints safety Steve Gleason, who, like Brigance, is also battling ALS, will join via Skype.
"The fight against ALS has existed for over a hundred years with no cure," Brigance said Wednesday before departing for the conference.
"There is a need for greater awareness, along with funding for research and patient services. My encouragement will remind us of the root of resiliency which permeates our cause. We will not stop until we find a cure."
While there are many causes to support, Brigance feels ALS (otherwise known as Lou Gehrig's disease) is often overlooked when compared to cancer and other more well-known afflictions.
Brigance recently visited the ALS Therapy Development Institute in Boston to tour their facilities and was "excited by the prospects on the horizon." But a cure can't be found fast enough in his eyes, he said. He is hoping funding and procedures can be fast-tracked.
"My hope is Congress will recognize the devastation of ALS and will champion our cause," Brigance said. "There are countless researchers looking to unlock the mysteries of ALS. Unfortunately, people are dying in the prime of their lives because the answer isn't coming quick enough."