News

Actions

Chanda Brigance named Woman of the Year

Posted at 6:56 PM, Jun 02, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-02 18:56:03-04

"I couldn't believe it, and then I cried like a baby."

Tears of joy for Chanda Brigance. The Gridiron Greats have named her Woman of the Year.

"It's very humbling. I don’t take it lightly. I appreciate it. I feel very, very blessed but at the same time, at the end of the day, I still come back, I'm still gonna be here 100 percent beside my husband."

For 22 years, she's been by OJ's side...through good times and bad...sickness and in health.

9 years ago the former Raven, NFL great was diagnosed with ALS Lou Gehrig’s disease.

"We never would have imagined 20 years ago that we would be sitting in this position, but since we are here, we're gonna look at the glass halfway full, instead of halfway empty. We're gonna say here's where we are, here's where the road of life has taken us, what can we do positive, how can we make a difference."

And with that...the Brigance Brigade Foundation was born. Since 2008 they've been supporting people living with ALS.

"We were like, who can afford this, who can live, continue living with having a disease like this with so much equipment and supplies and things. OJ and I -- we were so blessed and we have the resources and people here -- let's be there to help others."

It's because of that spirit that Chanda is being honored with the 2016 Sylvia Mackey Woman of the Year award.
Her tireless work as an advocate for ALS and Caregiver have not gone unnoticed.

"They really treated us like royalty when we were there to meet the President. OJ and I really felt special that day."

She'll feel special Friday too, in Las Vegas with OJ at her side as she shines in the spotlight.

"He is so happy. He is so proud. He had sent everybody in the family emails. He let everybody know."

While she's honored, Chanda is just thrilled to know she's helping others see the light.

"Where there's a will, there's a way, and that's what OJ and I are fighting for. There is a way that we can continue to still live, maybe in a different way than what we're used to, but we can; they still can live after being diagnosed."