Billy Brimblecom Jr.

Executive Director, Steps of Faith Foundation

Billy Brimblecom Jr. grew up in Shawnee, Kan., and studied jazz at the University of Kansas. He has toured the U.S., Canada, the U.K. and Japan playing drums with his former band “Blackpool Lights.” Billy has also appeared as an actor at The Kennedy Center, off-Broadway and in film and TV. 

Billy lost his left leg to Ewing’s Sarcoma in 2005. As a life-long musician and actor, this nearly devastated his career. Still young and active, he needed a prosthesis that would give him full mobility and allow him to continue to play the drums and live an active life. Thanks to friends and family, he was able to raise more than $30,000 for his first prosthetic limb. With his new prosthesis, Billy was back on tour playing the drums within just a few months of his surgery. He currently plays in a “Yacht Rock” Tribute band, Summer Breeze, as well as a band called Mazinaw. 

While Billy’s love for music is strong, his passion to serve other amputees is even stronger.  

After seven years living in Nashville, today Billy is a husband and father of two living in Kansas City. He serves as executive director of the Steps of Faith Foundation, which raises money to help amputees across the country in need of prosthetics to overcome financial challenges and live a life with fewer limitations. 
 

What is it about KC that inspires creativity in you?
I think it’s a thing in the water here. This is an incredibly creative city. It’s always been that way. Thus the song, “Going to Kansas City;” we roll our eyes at that, but that was written because this was the spot. I was fortunately wired as a creative person; I loved comedy growing up, like Ghost Busters and Eddie Murphy. I was also attracted to music at a really young age. As a teen, there were all ages’ clubs that were great to play. This is a creative place, and that’s not new news. I am a product of that.

What is your favorite spot in Kansas City?
I have a real heart for the [Country Club] Plaza. I was born at St. Luke’s [Hospital on the Plaza], and loved going [that neighborhood] when I was a kid. As a very young man after moving away from Lawrence, I lived and worked there for a really long time at Banana Republic, Anthropologie, The Classic Cup and ReVerse when I wasn’t on tour playing music. It’s just the history of the Plaza, like being the first outdoor mall in America. I just have pride with things like that. If I could purchase the Plaza, I would.

Where's your favorite place outside of Kansas City?
I’ve been lucky to travel a lot of places as a musician. I always loved going to New York City. Actually, many year’s ago, my band’s first tour was the first time I ever went to New York, so that felt like a sense of accomplishment.

What's your most treasured possession?
It’s probably a tie between my $99 wedding ring and my prosthetic leg. My ring is indestructible, and I love my wife. My prosthetic leg is an essential tool that allows me to rarely ever feel like a handicapped person.

Who's your favorite fictional hero?
Luke Skywalker! I was born the year that Star Wars was released in ‘77.

Who do you most admire in real-life?
My grandpa, who passed away when I was 21. He was just a really gentle, patient and hardworking guy. And he had a great head of hair! I spent a lot of time with him.

When and where are you happiest?
With my kids and my wife. Anywhere with those three.

Billy Brimblecom Jr

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