Brandon Staley routinely dashed in and out of the new end-zone facility at Northern Illinois University wearing sunglasses. He rarely stopped for small talk because he was determined to complete the promise he made to his younger brother.

“We’re going to get through this,” Brandon told Michael Staley after informing him he had been diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma 14 years ago. “We’re going to attack everything the way that we were raised and brought up to do.”

Brandon Staley was relentless in his battle because he saw what cancer did to his parents. His father, Bruce, is a two-time cancer survivor and was first diagnosed when Brandon and his twin brother, Jason, were young. Their mother, Linda, was diagnosed with breast cancer when they were 12 and died in 2004 after a near 10-year bout.

“It kind of felt like a bag of bricks hitting you right in the mouth,” Michael said about learning of Brandon’s cancer diagnosis, not long after their mother’s death. “But when your older brother, who’s going through it, makes you feel better, it gives you a sense of belief. If he feels this and he knows we’re going to compete and get after it and do everything we can to get through it, then there’s no way that you can feel sorry.”

The weaker Brandon Staley became, the more he kept reminding himself that he was near the end of his chemotherapy and closer to completing his promise and resuming his chase of becoming an NFL head coach.

Staley, 38, achieved his goal when the Chargers named him head coach in January, but the real prize for overcoming cancer arrived much sooner when he darted through the hallways of the Northern Illinois facility.

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Many will learn about Staley’s determination and journey to becoming a first-time head coach when the Chargers face the Pittsburgh Steelers in prime time for “Sunday Night Football” at SoFi Stadium. But many others have already started their research on the Chargers’ intriguing new coach who’s being referred to as “the real life Ted Lasso” on social media for his inspirational snippets during news conferences that have gone viral.

Amy Staley hasn’t watched the comedy-drama series “Ted Lasso,” but she also gained curiosity for Brandon when they first met – and it wasn’t because of his uplifting speeches. She wondered why the man in sunglasses rushed through the Northern Illinois facility.

“He usually went straight up and we didn’t have any conversations for a long time,” Amy Staley recalled about first seeing her future husband. “He was coming back and forth from radiation treatment and I didn’t know that at the time.”

Brandon Staley didn’t mingle before radiation treatment, but through his shades he noticed Amy, who worked near the entrance as the athletic director’s intern. Staley was the football team’s graduate assistant who returned to campus after completing chemotherapy.

Brandon and Amy met among a group of friends a few weeks after Brandon’s last radiation treatment. That’s when Brandon finally mingled and when Amy noticed the determination.

“He was going through the …read more

Source:: Los Angeles Daily News

      

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