Bills fan cancer Disney World: A Christmas surprise for Ezra Castro.
Buffalo Bills supporter Ezra Castro and his family are spending this Christmas planning a trip, thanks to the generosity of other fans.
Castro, better known as Pancho Billa, is fighting cancer. He is scheduled to undergo his 22nd round of chemotherapy on Wednesday. But that’s not what was on his mind as he watched his two kids open gifts Tuesday morning. He was thinking of sunny Florida.
“We’re going to Disney World baby!” Castro exclaimed.
This month, more than 60 Bills fans have raised more than $5,000 to send Castro, his girlfriend, and his kids to Orlando. They found out while at the ‘Bills Backers’ bar in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, Castro’s hometown, on Sunday during halftime of the Bills game against New England.
“Oh my gosh dude! That’s crazy bro!” Castro said as he was told.
This is the latest shocker in a busy year for Castro. The National Football League took note of his cancer fight in April, when he announced a Bills draft pick on stage in front of a worldwide audience. Earlier this month, he became the first person inducted into the Buffalo Fan Wall of Fame.
And now, the surprise trip to Florida.
“We’re just so blessed,” Castro said from his Texas home. “It puts into perspective tangible things on a day like (Christmas). It’s not about things that you can touch, feel, play with. Sometimes, it’s just making memories with your own family that is more important.”
Del Reid, a co-founder of Bills Mafia, helped quarterback the donation campaign.
“In the world of social media, it’s really difficult to raise money for somebody who is also on social media,” Reid said. “So I had to do it on the down low.”
He did. On December 9th, Reid sent out a cryptic tweet.
“I’m putting together a fundraiser to help do something special for a family this Christmas,” Reid wrote. “I want it to be a surprise.”
Bills fans responded. Now, Castro’s kids are already thinking about Mickey Mouse.
“My three-year-old daughter, I haven’t seen her so excited in years,” said Castro. “I’ll be honest. She was more excited than she was opening gifts from Santa.”
“It felt really good because they’re under so much stress,” Reid said of the campaign. “They do a great job of putting up a face. I believe it’s authentic. They’re doing such a good job of keeping in positive spirits. But it has to take a toll.”
The Bills will not be going to the playoffs. Their season will end Sunday after they host the Miami Dolphins at New Era Field. But Castro still has plenty to look forward to in the short-term.
“I take my life day-by-day, hour-by-hour, second-by-second,” he said. “But the fact that I’m able to be here with my family and see this, it gives me another reason to push to be even stronger.
“It gives me more strength because now I have something to look forward to.”