BUFFALO, N.Y. — Here is a story of how Buffalo Bills fans are continuing the legacy of Bills super fan Pancho Billa, who's real name was Ezra Castro. Pancho remains an inspiration to not just fans, but to a lot of people beyond Western New York.
His passion for the Bills, even as he battled cancer was remarkable.
From a watch party at the Transit Drive-In in Lockport for the AFC Title game, Bills fans donated more than $9,000 to a cause very close to Pancho.
"I'm getting emotional it's amazing I seriously love this city, the city of givers, the city of love," said Veronica Borjon, Pancho's girlfriend.
Every car that filed into the Transit Drive-In Sunday night, was not just filled with fans ready for the game, but fans who want to continue the legacy of Pancho, who died nearly two years ago from cancer.
"Having this playoff run without him felt like something was missing and we wanted to honor his memory," said Rick Cohen, the owner of the Transit Drive-In.
The charge was $39 per car and at the end of the night – $9,126 was raised for The Teacher's Desk, which has been carrying on Pancho's wish of providing school supplies to kids in need.
"Of course there's a lot of parents out there who can't afford to buy all the school supplies that their children need and he wanted to help out in that aspect," Borjon said.
Leaders at The Teacher's Desk are beyond amazed by the generosity of fans.
"You can see my smile under my facemask the thing that I love about this is Ezra's passed away now going on two years and he's as alive as ever today," said John Mika, the director of The Teacher's Desk.
With the money raised – 1,000 Pancho Packs, which are filled with mainly school supplies – will go to kids across Western New York. Pancho Packs are also sent to Texas where Pancho lived and Puerto Rico.
"It encourages our volunteers, it encourages the community, I would suspect it encourages some of the Bills players because they are seeing good things come out of what they do," Mika said.
"The fact that Ezra's wish is still coming true to this day it's beyond amazing and I'm so very thankful to each and everyone of you who has helped," Borjon said. "Viva los Bills."
The folks at The Teacher's Desk tell us through a separate fundraising effort by M&T Bank an additional 1,200 Pancho Packs will go to kids who need them.
The Teacher's Desk has distributed 19,000 Pancho Packs over the past two years and the organization says it has a goal of doing 11,000 more this year.
To donate to The Teacher's Desk, click here.