Jim Newman, chair of the Roswell Park Alliance Foundation, spoke Wednesday on the passing of Ezra Castro, known to Buffalo Bills fans as “Pancho Billa.”
- Ezra Castro, aka Pancho Billa, died on Tuesday
- Roswell Park has seen an uptick in donation in his memory
- 26 Shirts helping fulfilling one of Castro's last wishes
"I saw him at a Bills game, I never did have the opportunity to meet him. Certainly saddened. We had been following the story for the last year and a half," said Newman.
Castro died Tuesday after a long battle with Stage 4 pancreatic cancer.
Since then, more than 150 donations totaling more than $5,000 have been made to Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center from people across 35 states and three countries.
"The generosity is touching. That it was unexpected and unplanned and spontaneous is amazing. It shows how many people are touched by cancer," said Newman.
Newman says money will help fund a series of clinical trials, the results of which will be shared with other comprehensive cancer centers across the country.
"Which is actually dealing with patient cancer issues in terms of both treatment and cure. So we hope it continues to grow," said Newman.
"It's tough. He was just a great fan, a dear friend," said Del Reid, 26 Shirts owner.
Reid is now reselling the "Pancho Power" shirt he recently created, and is also helping fulfill Castro's wish to provide backpacks to kids in need, instead of sending flowers in his memory.
"I'm not sure what form that's going to take yet. It's a real testament to who he was. This is not a surprise to me at all that he would make that request that people help others," said Reid.
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