Update September 27th:
On Friday morning, at 11:55 am, Brian Piccolo lost his fight with cancer. According to friends and family, he didn't go without a fight- just like he said he would. His main mission before he passed was to finish a house for his wife Shelley and their four kids, and the house is close to being complete. To continue to donate to help finish Brian's mission, account information is listed below.
Forty-three years ago on Sunday, Chicago Bears running back Brian Piccolo passed away at age 26 of cancer. The movie Brian's Song came out the following year, moving grown men to tears.
In Panama City, Piccolo's second cousin, and his namesake, is fighting a battle of his own- and hoping to leave a legacy behind him.
Two times a day, five days a week, 35 year old Brian Piccolo suits up to train. He's an MMA fighter, who won his last bout a month and a half ago, and is gearing up for another fight this Saturday.
"It's an addiction for me I guess," said Brian.
An addiction that keeps him going, because these days, Brian is battling a much bigger opponent- as he has stage four esophageal cancer.
"In shock," said wife Shelley of their emotions when they first heard the word cancer. The couple has been together for nearly a decade, and the news was hard to grasp.
"I just was baffled by the prognosis that I researched and found and I was like no, we have to find something else," she said.
So the Piccolo's went to Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, where in February, doctors told Brian that he had just nine more months to spend with Shelley and their four kids.
"I don't want it to be a pity party," said Brian of his diagnosis. "It is what it is. We're going to do the best we can with it. When I found out I had cancer, I stepped it up a notch, like I had something to prove. They see the fight until the end, until it's over with. That means a lot to them, my kids won't forget it."
SFor many people with a terminal illness, they begin thinking of a bucket list- things they want to do before they pass away. For Brian, his bucket list has one thing on it, and that's to finish this house, for his wife and kids.
"From there we got all the insulation, sheet rock, trim, doors," said Brian, walking around his house.
Two years ago, Brian, a sub-contractor by trade, starting building a new home for his family.
"This will be a door here, and another bedroom here, for one of the kids there," he said as he continued the tour around his half finished home.
Each kid will have a bedroom in the new house, a place to call their own. But with the demands of chemotherapy, Brian, who's built the whole house by hand, can't do it all, and the family has run out of the funds to finish it.
"God know when it's going to be, I don't," said Brian. "But before I go, I'm going to do everything I can to make sure they have everything they need to get by and live with."
"If it wasn't for him, I don't think I would be as strong as I am right now," said Shelley. :Seeing him going, going, going, you don't even realize he's sick. Then every now and then, we get that glimpse of reality that hits in, and it says wow, you really are sick."
"If I go, it's going to be a lot harder on her to raise these babies," said Brain. "If I get this house done, that's just going to make it so much easier."
Get it done to finish the fight and come away with one more victory- for his family. Brian says he is $30,000 dollars short of finishing the house for his family.
The Piccolo's have set up an account with Innovations Federal Credit Union. The name of the account is "Benefit Account for Brian Piccolo," and the account number is 0052247911.
Innovations has several branches located throughout Bay County:
910 Thomas Drive, Panama City Beach, FL 32408
700 W. 23rd Street, Panama City, FL 32405
625 Jenks Avenue, Panama City, FL 32401
2250 S. Highway 77, Lynn Haven, FL 32444
864 N. Tyndall Parkway, Callaway, FL 32404
17900 Panama City Beach Parkway, Panama City, Florida 32413
Phone Number: 850.233.4400