Last year, Austin Rehkow received a call with news that would change his family's lives: his 10-year-old brother Cameron may have leukemia.
He remembered thinking, "no, that can't be right. Not my family, not my little brother."
Looking back on the series of events, he said, "nothing can prepare you for that call."
But the Rehkows are a family of fighters.
Over a year later, Austin Rehkow is fighting for a roster spot during Bills training camp as a kicking specialist. His youngest brother Cameron is still battling the disease, and according to big brother Austin, he's doing it bravely so.
"Cameron's just incredible," Austin said. "He's an incredible fighter and gives me inspiration every day."
Austin wears that inspiration in the form of a thin orange bracelet on his right wrist. He can be seen fiddling with it on the practice field while waiting to receive snaps. Upon closer inspection, the band has ribbons on it, and the initials 'CTR.'
Austin said the initials have two meanings. The first is "Choose the Right," a religious motto that the family lives by. But the letters also represent the initials of his brother.
"I have him on my bracelet here every day," Austin said. "It's just a constant reminder and a bit of a way for him to be here with me. Even though he doesn't know it, he's been a huge calming sense through everything."
Austin said he finds himself playing with the bracelet whenever he's anxious, finding relief in his brother's support.
But he also said a promise he made to Cameron keeps him going.
"We have our own personal deal," Austin said. "I told him, 'you do everything in your power to get back to full health, and I'll do everything in my power to make sure the next game you come to is gonna be an NFL football game.'"
Austin said Cameron has been keeping good on his end, and on Thursday, August 10, Austin will take the field at New Era Field as a Buffalo Bill, keeping his word as well.
"Sure enough, Thursday night he'll be down," Austin said with a big smile.
The two brothers motivate each other to get better in their respective battles. Austin said Cameron loves football, and after a year of waiting to see his brother play in a game, he'll be able to do so on the professional stage.
"He's proven to me you can fight through anything," Austin said. "You just gotta do it with a smile."
The Bills kick off their first preseason game Thursday, August 10 at 7:00 p.m. on 7ABC, with Countdown to Kickoff beginning at 6:30 p.m. and a live postgame show afterward.