Brianna Collichio, an 11-year-old, Rochester native made a big name for herself singing at NFL games. At this point, she sang the National Anthem at 3 NY Jets football games. This aspiring, young singer’s story is even more remarkable when you learn she suffers from cystic fibrosis, a long-term illness which affects her lungs. While being faced with the challenge of this illness and the diminished lung capacity, Brianna is currently home schooled and follows a daily medical regime. She is an inspiration to all and she does not allow her illness to get in the way of the message she wants to send to “just believe”.
Brianna shares some of her daily routine and the challenges she faces. She indicated she wears a Respir Tech vest. She describes the treatment: “It shakes you to break up the mucus”. Brianna takes a slew of medications including inhaled medications, enzymes (pancreas is deficient) and antibiotics. As a young lady, sometimes daily life with Cystic Fibrosis is frustrating but Brianna finds peace through singing.
It was around the age of 6 while decorating the Christmas tree, Brianna’s mother, Colleen first noticed Brianna’s beautiful gift to sing. Brianna stood placing ornaments on the branches belting out a Celine Dion song “O Holy Night” hitting the high notes perfectly. Colleen recalls being simply amazed at the sound. Brianna simply thought “everyone had a beautiful voice like mine”.
For Brianna, it was after her first performance she knew singing was her calling. She enjoyed seeing the people’s faces smiling with all eyes on her. She indicated: “It was really fun. I wanted to keep doing it”. Ironically, her first performance was in a small church before an audience of about 5. The Collichio family is extremely grounded in their beliefs in God. They attribute Brianna’s success as God giving her a gift to share with the world. Shortly after this performance, Brianna’s father, also a musician invited Brianna to share the stage at Fairport’s “Music on the Canal” festival. After her performance, the family was approached by the Mayor and Brianna was invited to perform at the 10th Anniversary of 9/11, where the town honored first responders.
Brianna wants to be an encouragement to others. Her life is a struggle but she does not allow her illness to define her. Cystic Fibrosis is not her identity. Brianna believes: “We all have weak areas in our lives. No one is perfect. What makes us weak only makes us stronger”. Her faith in God carries her through on the rough days.
Her mom, Colleen Collichio indicates: “Our God is a loving God. I watch my daughter struggle but everything seems to work together. That is what faith is. You have to keep your eyes on the goal you wish to achieve. Brianna often has horrible coughing fits but amazingly it doesn’t happen when she sings. I remember one day we were scheduled to do the Jets game.
We woke up the day we were planning to leave and Brianna had a high fever. We left a day early because it was New Year’s. We rode out believing in our faith and thinking everything would be okay. It was! The weather was 52 degrees and Brianna’s fever broke. Brianna sang beautifully”. Colleen remembers asking God to show her a sign it would all be okay and a rainbow mysteriously appeared in the sky over where Brianna was standing while she sang. “It was remarkable”.
In 2015, Brianna’s first single “On my Hands” was released after working with a vocal coach (Richard Fink). In 2016, her second song was released “Glow in the Dark”. She worked with a songwriter Elvio Fernandes (Daughtry band). Both songs are available on I-Tunes. Also in 2015, young Brianna was given the Michael Brennan “Spirit Award” and in 2016 the “Michael Brennan Courage Award” for her work assisting the Boomer Esiason Foundation, created to assist people suffering from Cystic Fibrosis. Brianna has also sang on national radio, calling in to K Love 104.9 FM. Brianna enjoys contributing and assisting causes surrounding the illness she also suffers from but more so wants to be remembered for being an encouragement to others.
She states: “I want to sing in front of many people. I want to encourage them for whatever they are doing. It’s an opportunity to do what I love. I also want to breed retrievers”.
Colleen Collichio indicated: “At times things are so hard. There were times when I have said to God, “Where are you?” This is especially true, when I sit helpless seeing Brianna when she has a choking/coughing episode. Our country faces so much strife right now. We have started being a politically correct nation. God is our strength. We aren’t ashamed to tell our story and reveal our belief he will get us through. Although your life may be broken, there’s still a plan”.
When asked what do you want to leave our readers with as a last thought? Briana replied:
“Never give up no matter what you’re going through. You might lose some battles but God will win the war. Don’t lose faith”.
Brianna Collichio will perform for Rochester Woman Online at our February Launch party, February 9, 2017, at Brass Nightclub at the corner of East and Alexander in downtown Rochester. The event is from 5:00 pm-9:00 pm . Please join us and see for yourself, Brianna Collichio as she performs. It will be a day you don’t want to miss.