Cancer-stricken superfan gets the gift of a lifetime courtesy of 2 NFL greats


When Bills fans look back at the 2018 NFL draft, the focus will be on the team’s bold move to trade up (twice) to get their (hopefully) franchise quarterback in Wyoming’s Josh Allen with the seventh overall selection.

But the star of Buffalo’s draft weekend was someone named “Pancho Billa.”

As the Buffalo News reported, 38-year-old Ezra Castro is as big a Bills fan as you’ll ever see — even for someone born in El Paso, Texas.

In fact, Castro leads a group of Bills fans in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, numbering about 700.

His gameday preparation is more of a transformation, from a man named Ezra into “Pancho Billa.”

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Last season, he traveled to New York for a Thursday night Bills-Jets game. While he was sightseeing, he felt his left arm go numb.

When he returned home, a doctor’s diagnosis changed his life forever.

A mass wrapped around his spine, and cancer had spread to his liver, lungs and lymph nodes.

Being the true fan he is, he put off surgery to take his son (“Panchito”) to see the Bills play in Carson City, California.

Castro had his surgery in December, and he is battling cancer with everything he’s got.

It’s his incredible spirit that brought him to the Cowboys’ AT&T Stadium for this year’s NFL draft for a moment nobody will forget.

Former Bills running back Fred Jackson and Hall of Fame receiver Andre Reed came on stage for the team’s third-round pick.

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“Ezra,” Jackson called out. “Pacho Billa, can you please join us on stage.”

The television cameras showed Castro sobbing in the crowd and then making his way to stand alongside the two former Bills.

“Why don’t you announce the pick?” Jackson said to him.

Castro did so, revealing Buffalo’s selection of Stanford defensive tackle Harrison Phillips.

“Viva los Bills!” he then said.

Over the coming days, we’ll see all types of “report cards” for teams’ draft week performances.

No matter what happens on the field, we’d give Buffalo an A-plus.

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Mike is an 11-time Michigan Emmy Award winner who has spent nearly 30 years working in sports media.
Mike has spent nearly 30 years in all aspects of sports media, including on-air, 10 at ESPN and another 10 at Fox Sports Detroit. He now works as a TV agent, and lives with his family in West Bloomfield, MI.
Sudbury, Massachusetts
11-time Michigan Emmy winner
Emerson College
Books Written
The Longest Year: One Family's Journey Of Life, Death, And Love/If These Walls Could Talk: Detroit Tigers/If These Walls Could Talk: Detroit Lions
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