It’s not often you hear the opposing team’s quarterback get a standing ovation at New Era Field. Bills fans did just that for Andy Dalton during Sunday’s game.
It was his first appearance in Buffalo since throwing a go-ahead touchdown pass late in the fourth quarter to knock the Baltimore Ravens out of the playoffs on New Year's Eve last year and end the Bills 17-year playoff drought.
Shortly after, Bills fans donated over $400,000 to his charity foundation. He’s paying that forward by donating money to Roswell Park’s Pediatric Department. JJ Dalton, co-founder of the Andy and JJ Dalton Foundation, said they provide resources to seriously ill and physically challenged children and their families. She calls it the touchdown pass that keeps giving.
“We want y’all to know that that day didn’t happen and then it was cool for a week and then we moved on,” she said. “This is something we talk about daily, weekly. Y’all live with us. Y’all live on in our foundation and these families lives.”
Two gifts were given. One included electronics. Tablets, iPads, kindles, and video game systems were given to kids in addition to autographed memorabilia. The second was a donation to the Roswell Park Alliance Foundation’s Angel Fund, which provides grants to families to help alleviate financial burdens while fighting cancer.
Dalton made a surprise visit to Roswell Park yesterday announcing the donation.
“We never thought that it would turn in to what it did,” he said. “For this just to happen so organically… and not anything we were promoting and to have it happen from a completely different fan base is just pretty crazy and a story that doesn’t happen very often.”
Roswell Park President and CEO Dr. Candace Johnson grew up a Bengals fan living in Ohio. She said seeing two cities come together in unity like this is amazing.
“And what it goes to is the spirit of hope that we all share no matter what city we live in,” Johnson said. If we’d be sitting in Cincinnati we’d have children there too because this disease effects all of us. And cancer… it’s bad and we all know it. We’re all trying.”
Dalton and his wife announced earlier this month on Twitter they would donate when they came to New Era Field to play the Buffalo Bills in their third preseason game.