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Community support pours in for Pancho Billa

Posted at 7:02 PM, May 15, 2019

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — In the shadows of New Era Field stands a memorial for beloved Buffalo super fan Pancho Billa.

Taped to a light pole in front of the stadium, are three pictures and a simple sign that reads: "R.I.P. Pancho Billa! Fly high amigo...Viva los Bills."

Since Pancho Billa died Tuesday after a battle with cancer, hundreds of messages have flooded social media using #PanchoPower.

Fans have also been donating to Roswell Park in Pancho's memory.

"We're just about at $5,000 and counting," Jim Newman, Chairman of the Roswell Foundation, said. That dollar amount still growing with donations pouring in so far from 35 states and 3 countries.

"This will allow Roswell to conduct a series of trials to try and find a cure to cancer and we'll share the results of this with other comprehensive care centers," he said.

Before he died, Pancho made it clear he didn't want flowers for his funeral. Instead he wanted backpacks full of school supplies to be donated to children in need. And that's exactly what he's getting.

Buffalo Station House owner, Dave Cronk, started this Facebook group to collect school supplies and backpacks for the cause.

Businesses like Cellino Plumbing are taking backpack donations, too, at their McKinley Mall location.

Del Reid, co-founder of BillsMafia, for every $10 donation to The Teacher's Desk, a backpack full of $100 worth of school supplies will be donated to a child in need.

Plans for a celebration of life for Pancho have been set for Saturday in Irving, Texas. According to a post on Facebook by his longtime partner, his family is asking for the donation of backpacks. "We wish to honor Ezra's request and ask that everyone wear their favorite team jersey to the service. In lieu of flowers we ask for kids backpacks with school supplies for Panchospacks for Panchoskids."

Fans on social media are also planning a candlelight vigil this Friday from 7 to 9 p.m. in front of the stadium to honor the life of Pancho Billa.