BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The Brigance Brigade Foundation Race & Family-Fun Run/Walk returned to an in-person event this year.
Runners and walkers lined up at the Maryland Zoo to participate in the race on Sunday.READ MORE: Maryland Weather: Cooling Down
The Brigance Brigade Foundation holds the event every spring. It is one of the foundation’s signature events.
Former Raven OJ Brigance and his wife, Chanda, formed the non-profit foundation after he was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, which is more commonly known as ALS.
The neurodegenerative disease affects the nerve cells in a person’s brain and spinal cord.
The foundation hosts the race to support people who are battling ALS.
Chanda said it was inspiring to see people come out “and come together just for this worthy cause.”
“I mean, words can’t describe how full my heart and OJ’s hearts are just to see this thing happen again because we are helping though in need.”
The race was a virtual event during the COVID-19 pandemic.READ MORE: Maryland Weather: A Cold Front Sweeps In As Severe Thunderstorm Watch Ends
Some of OJ’s old teammates participated in it, like former Ravens’ defensive end Michael McCrary.
McCrary said he was impressed with OJ’s efforts.
“Now look at him and the accomplishments he’s made,” McCrary said. “I almost forget the OJ from football and just think of him now, what he’s doing raising money for ALS, what a tremendous job he’s done. I’m just proud to call him my teammate.”
Former Raven Ray Rice said OJ took what he learned on the football field and applied it to life.
“He didn’t let—he’s not letting his situation with ALS define who he is,” Rice said.
But it is participants like John Simermeyer and his family who make the race successful.
Simermeyer was diagnosed with ALS last February. He said he wants to see the foundation help those afflicted with the disease.MORE NEWS: Waterfront Partnership Of Baltimore Offers Free Exercise Classes Along Inner Harbor
“It’s not about me,” he said. “It’s about being a part of the broader community, being part of the broader ALS family and showing our support to the Brigance Brigade Foundation.”