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O.J. Brigance Named Honorary Chair of May 3 Race to Cure ALS, Confirms His Diagnosis by The Robert Packard Center for ALS Research at Johns Hopkins
Date:3/3/2008

BALTIMORE, Md., March 3 /PRNewswire/ -- Super Bowl champ O.J. Brigance, who recently confirmed a diagnosis of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) by top doctors at The Robert Packard Center for ALS Research at Johns Hopkins, is spearheading a spring footrace organized by the Center to fund research to find a cure for the syndrome commonly known as "Lou Gehrig's Disease."

(Photo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20080303/NEM042 )

The former Baltimore Ravens linebacker now in charge of the team's player development has assumed the role of honorary chairperson for the race, according to the Packard Center's Director Dr. Jeffrey Rothstein. Called "The Fiesta 5K & Fun Run 2008" in a salute to Cinco de Mayo celebrations that same weekend, this second annual event is planned for Saturday, May 3 at 8:00 a.m. at the Power Plant LIVE! Pavilion in Baltimore's Inner Harbor. On-line registration is now available by logging on to the Center's website, http://www.alscenter.org.

ALS is a neuromuscular disease characterized by a progressive degeneration of motor nerve cells that causes muscles to weaken, then waste away (atrophy). Intellect and the five senses remain. It crosses all socio-economic, race and ethnic lines, occurs spontaneously and has no cure. Although traditionally a disease of middle age, recent clinical observations show an increase in younger patients. This potential trend, plus evidence ALS affects military personnel at twice the rate of the general population, warrant further study.

Brigance, who is 38, has pledged to spend personal time and dollars into creating more awareness and funding for this neurodegenerative condition that affects about 30,000 Americans annually, a rate about equal to multiple sclerosis and five times that of Huntington's disease.

Says Brigance, "The Robert Packa
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SOURCE The Robert Packard Center for ALS Research at JohnsHopkins
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