While not all Team Naaman followers are fans of the Buffalo Bills, everyone can stand behind the legacy of Buffalo Bills superfan, Ezra “Pancho Billa” Castro. I apologize in advance that I won’t do his story justice, and I recommend checking out his page in the links below. Cool dude, loving father, and devoted fan. Pancho was also diagnosed with cancer, and became a sort of penpal and super hero to Naaman. During hospital stays, Naaman kept photos of ‘Billa hanging in his room, and would cheer in his bed, singing the Bills’ Shout song. In the spring of this year, Pancho’s battle ended, and he is at peace in heaven.
Losing Pancho to cancer hit us hard. I hadn’t even seen him in several years, and of course we only corresponded in brief. But it hurt to lose a member of our Bills Family, and saddened us thinking of his family (especially little Panchito and Panchita). It is also a stark reminder that we can treat cancer, pray like crazy, yet in the end it is in God’s hands alone.
The Buffalo Bills fan base, loving known as Bills Mafia, and the entire Bills organization have ensured Pancho’s legacy will live on. Today at the home opener, they honored Pancho and his family. There was a killer tailgate and on-the-field tribute. It took me a few tries to get through watching it online. See some footage of the beautiful tribute here.
Unprompted, Cheeky chose to wear his jersey today, and chose his Spidey mask. At the breakfast table, unprompted, he started saying “Pa-cho Billa!” and sticking his tongue out, a signature Pancho move. We didn’t share with Cheeky (or Nadine) that Pancho is in heaven now, but some day this will be a great story to share with him. We are grateful for the inspiration Pancho still gives our little guy. Go Bills!
For more Pancho: