It was with heavy hearts that the Bills community learned that Ezra Castro or “Pancho Billa” – who has been battling stage-four cancer, entered hospice care on Thursday, April 25, in his home state of Texas. Despite the circumstances, the Bills superfan’s spirit did not waver, nor did his support for his favorite team. As the Bills geared up for the start of the 2019 NFL Draft, an event that Castro was planning to attend, many at One Bills Drive, including several players such as Jordan Poyer, Harrison Phillips and Jerry Hughes, as well as Owner Terry Pegula, General Manager Brandon Beane and Head Coach Sean McDermott, took time to share encouraging messages.
Inspired by Castro’s perseverance, the Bills made an incredible gesture, one that proved that they were thinking of him on one of the team’s biggest nights of the year.
Giving him a special memory to hold onto, Beane called Castro to share with him a very important piece of information – who the team would be selecting with the No. 9 pick. However, that’s not all that happened. Live from the draft room, Beane, alongside McDermott and Bills Owners Terry and Kim Pegula, informed Castro that he would be given the opportunity to call the pick in to Buffalo’s representative in Nashville.
Once the pick was made, the support for Castro continued when McDermott and Beane addressed the media to talk about the decision to draft Houston defensive tackle Ed Oliver.
“I know tonight is a big night for the organization, for our fans, just to send our support, prayers on behalf of the entire organization to Pancho Billa in his battle right now,” said McDermott. “Letting him know that we're there with him in spirit even though we can't be there physically with him right now.”
Although he couldn’t make it to Nashville, Castro’s presence was felt throughout the city. There was even a space, reserved by his friends at the local Bills Backers Chapter, at the Bills fan section, the “inner circle.”
Sitting on his chair was a sombrero, a staple of the iconic fan’s costume, and a Pancho Billa doll.
The proud president of the Dallas-Fort Worth Bills Backers Chapter, Castro has grown popular over the years among Bills fans everywhere and even gained a following with other NFL fans.
As Castro continues his courageous fight, he knows he is not alone. For he has thousands of his closest friends, his Bills family, with him every step of the way.