“It was the best day of my life.”
That’s how Brianna Collicho, who has cystic fibrosis, described her appearance on American Idol back in 2021.
“You are a walking miracle. You give people hope. And people need a lot of hope right now,” declared pop superstar Katy Perry following Brianna’s audition.
On August 20th, Brianna will inspire and give hope to many here in Birmingham when she headlines the 6th Annual United Ability Journey of HOPE presented by Medical Properties Trust.
Brianna’s Journey of HOPE
Brianna was diagnosed at birth with cystic fibrosis, a genetic mutation that causes production of abnormally thick mucus that affects the lungs, pancreatic ducts and intestines—often resulting in respiratory infections.
“The only thing it (cystic fibrosis) hasn’t affected is my singing. Ever since I could talk, I could sing. Music is my happy place,” Brianna told Bham Now.
According to her mom, Colleen, the first time the family noticed Brianna’s gift was during the Christmas season, while the family was putting up the lights on their tree and listening to Celine Dion.
“Celine Dion is hitting these huge notes as everyone knows,” said Colleen. “Her vocal capability is just through the roof. And then, Brianna steps into the room singing these notes, right on key. I turned around and I started bawling. I said, ‘Can you do that again?’ And she did it again! She held very long notes perfectly. Anyone with CF should not be able to do that without coughing.”
It was right then that Brianna’s “Journey of HOPE “ began. Her mom fostered her gift, and Brianna sang the National Anthem at sporting events and performances all over the country before COVID. Meanwhile, her CF rarely gave her any problem singing.
Katy Perry was right. A miracle.
UAB tested miracle CF drug
“I know that God has always had Brianna right in the palm of His hands. It has not been easy. You see all these wonderful beautiful YouTube videos, but nobody realizes the suffering, the pain, tears and hospitalizations. It was a really rough road and now she’s on miraculous medicine called Tri Kafta. It has changed the lives of cystic fibrosis patients worldwide. She lives a normal life because of that.”
Unbeknownst to Brianna and her mom, she will perform just blocks from where the drug was tested. UAB led most of the clinical trials for the miracle CF drugs. In fact, Dr. Steve Rowe—UAB Professor in the Division of Pulmonary, Allergy and Critical Care Medicine and the new Scientific Director at the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation—was the primary investigator for the drugs.
Why Journey of HOPE matters
This year’s 6th annual Journey of HOPE is sure to be inspirational and fun.
Held for the second year in a row at the newly opened Red Mountain Theatre, this year’s honoree is Birmingham’s own and United Ability Junior Board Member Chris Biggins, the third ranked adaptive golfer in the world.
If you can’t get a ticket, the show will be live streamed at: https://www.facebook.com/unitedability
Expect Brianna to play the following playlist:
- Scars are Beautiful by Alessia Cara
- The Climb by Miley Cyrus
- Don’t You Worry Bout a Thing by Tori Kelly
- And much more!
Don’t Forget the Silent Auction
In addition to the celebration you can also support United Ability and 6th Annual Journey of HOPE by participating in this year’s silent auction.
Benefitting United Ability, the lineup includes jewelry, fine art, unique experiences, sports entertainment and more! All are welcome to participate.The auction will close Saturday 8/20 at 8:30pm CST. Auction items include:
- SEC Football Championship Experience
- NASCAR and Indy Races
- Birmingham Barons suite,
- Eagles and Taylor Hicks tickets,
- And tons of golf, and items for all ages and price ranges.
See You On August 20th
Mark your calendar —August 20, 6:00PM— 6th Annual United Ability Journey of HOPE presented by Medical Properties Trust.
Brianna summed up the event best:
“I want to inspire people. Keep the faith and do not let anything stop you from doing what you love.”
Are you going to attend United Ability’s Journey of HOPE? Take pics and tag us on social media at @bhamnow