Each spring, Bears teammates select both rookie and veteran players who best exemplify the courage, loyalty, teamwork, dedication and sense of humor of the late Brian Piccolo.
The Chicago Bears have been an integral part of the Brian Piccolo’s story, and the fund’s history, from the beginning. When Brian Piccolo was first diagnosed with embryonal cell carcinoma, Bears owner George Halas insisted that he be seen by the top specialists in the field for this type of rare cancer. He located Dr. Beattie at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Institute in New York City. The Bears flew Brian and his wife Joy to New York to meet with Dr. Beattie and discuss treatment options. Mr. Halas also appointed Ed McCaskey to be at Brian and Joy’s side. Ed and his wife, Virginia (Mr. Halas’s daughter) selected their son, Patrick, to bring the girls to Joy’s parents in Atlanta to be looked after during the weeks of Brian’s treatment.
When it was clear that Brian’s cancer could not be cured, the Halas and McCaskey families were steadfast in their emotional and physical support. George, Ed and Virginia offered guidance to Joy, then a young mother, with the difficult decisions she faced, whether medical, legal or financial. After Brian passed away, George Halas and the McCaskeys were key early advocates of the Piccolo Fund; in fact, he helped organize the first golf outing and was involved in other initiatives in Brian’s name. Now, 30 years later, the Chicago Bears family continues to be involved in the Piccolo Fund. Its philanthropic affiliate, NFL Charities, is a primary contributor.
The annual Piccolo Awards ceremony is yet another example of the Chicago Bears’ continued support. Each spring, Bears teammates select both rookie and veteran players who best exemplify the courage, loyalty, teamwork, dedication and sense of humor of the late Brian Piccolo.
On April 26, 2017, Pat McCaskey of the Chicago Bears presented the Rookie Award to Jordan Howard and the Veteran Award to Josh Bellamy. Thanks to ongoing support from the Bears, Joy Piccolo O’Connell accepted a check for $50,000 from NFL Charities on behalf of the Brian Piccolo Cancer Research Fund.