Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen has been moved by the generosity of his fans, who have donated over $600,000 to cancer research in memory of his grandmother.
Allen, 24, received a call last Saturday informing him that his 80-year-old grandmother Patricia Allen had died. Despite his grief, he made the decision to play the following day, helping lead his team to victory against the Seattle Seahawks.
“It was tough,” Allen said in an interview with the NFL Network. “But I did know one thing, she was a huge, huge supporter of mine throughout my entire life. Felt like it was a duty to go out and play for her.”
After fans first heard about Allen’s loss following the game, they quickly responded by making donations in her memory to the Buffalo's Oishei Children's Hospital, an organization the quarterback has supported for years.
In an extra special nod to Allen, many fans chose to donate $17 at a time, which is the number the athlete wears on the field. The children’s hospital also added in a Bills-themed “$17” donation button.
Less than 24 hours after the game, fans had already raised over $100,000 — a number which doubled the following day, and has continued to steadily grow since then.
As of Sunday afternoon, NFL fans have helped to raise over $630,000, which includes a $17,000 donation from Allen himself.
“Words can’t really describe how I feel, how my family feels. Every time I call my parents and let them know the new number, they just start balling all over again,” he said during a press conference on Wednesday.
“To know that people care and that so much good is coming out of a tough situation, you know it means the world to myself. It means the world to my family. It just shows how this Bills community and this Buffalo community rally around each other,” he added. “I can’t thank everybody who supported and donated and I can’t thank them enough.”
The children’s hospital has said that they plan to give Allen and his family some time to mourn and will then work together “to determine where they’d like to see the donations directed and how they'd like to recognize her at OCH.”
"It could be a sight, an area in the hospital, it could be a program," OCH President Allegra Jaros told NFL.com. "It will be special to the family to see her name show up in a way that celebrates her life."
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