Stefon Diggs continues Training Camp friendship with Aydin Laborde
WR Stefon Diggs brought light to the holiday season for five-year-old Aydin Laborde. During pregame warmups ahead of the Bills-Dolphins game Saturday night, Diggs surprised Aydin with a one-of-a-kind Christmas present: a custom pair of shoes featuring a hand-painted design of Aydin and his late father, Nick Laborde.
"Diggs managed to put this little light back in Aydin's eyes and a smile too," Aydin's mom, Alma Duric said. "He said it was the best day ever and he hasn't said that in so long, so I can't thank Diggs enough."
The unexpected gift brought tears to the boy's eyes and a smile to his face, and this wasn't the first time Diggs impacted the young boy's life.
The wide receiver met Aydin at Training Camp back in August. When Diggs got word that the boy's father recently passed away, he found his new friend in the stands after practice and pulled him aside to share some words of encouragement with him.
"I don't think Diggs realized what that one little moment with Aydin meant and how much of an impact it's had on him and all of our family," Duric said.
Just a few days after the two met, Aydin and his mom made the trip from Rochester to Buffalo to attend the Blue and Red Scrimmage at Highmark Stadium. Lo and behold, Diggs spotted his young fan, who was supporting a No. 14 jersey, in the front row. So the WR took a break from warming up to go say hi to the boy and he sent him home with a signed football – one that he doesn't let anybody touch, according to his mom because "his friend Diggs signed it."
"That moment of him recognizing Aydin and giving him a few minutes of his time showed him a lot," Duric said. "In school, he tries to give back and help people just like Diggs did for him."
After seeing the heartwarming videos of Diggs and Aydin on social media, Bills Mafia came together to make sure the family was filled with happiness when the holidays rolled around.
"Seeing Diggs with Aydin was one of the best moments of my life," said Buffalo resident Alyssa O'Reilly, who arranged for the special shoes to be made.
O'Reilly has a pair of custom shoes made for herself that Diggs signed and when she saw the clip of Aydin and the Bills WR during training camp, she reached out to Duric on social media asking to help get a pair of designed shoes for Aydin.
The special bond between Diggs and Aydin has only grown stronger since their first interaction. Aydin's mom expressed that she hasn't seen her son this happy in nine months, and that's all thanks to the generosity of Diggs and the Buffalo community.
"It was perfect timing," Duric said. "Christmas time, it's tough for him given his dad is not going to be here. But it was just a little gesture like that and his attitude is just 360 now. I'm thankful that we can at least have somewhat of a smile this year because of what the Bills have done for us."
Josh Allen cherishes gift from Abbie McNett
Also ahead of Saturday night's victory, QB Josh Allen was reunited with Abbie McNett who he met in the offseason at DICK's House of Sports in Victor, NY.
The nine-year-old was a former patient at Oishei Children's Hospital and was smiling ear to ear when Allen greeted her on the sidelines during pregame warmups. The QB reciprocated that joy when Abbie handed him a stuffed bear named "Abbie Bear," that matches her "Joshie Bear." After hearing "Let's go Buffalo" in Abbie's voice when he pressed a button on the bear's foot, Allen asked her to make it even more special by signing it.
The two even have a special handshake, just like Allen does with his receivers, that they exchanged before Allen headed to the locker room to get ret ready to take the field to face the Dolphins.
Abbie looked to Allen for inspiration through her journey of battling Alveolar Rhabdomyosarcoma. So, one summer day, Allen surprised her with a special day filled with playing catch, practicing their golf swings, and picking out a new Bills hat for the season.