Bills followers assist elevate $40,000 for visible impairment charity

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Last Sunday, Buffalo Bills followers had been upset at officers for not calling a penalty on a pivotal play throughout a 33-27 loss tothe Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Now, they’re turning fury into generosity by serving to elevate $40,000 for a visible impairment charity over the span of 5 days. 

The Visually Impairment Advancement (VIA), a nonprofit primarily based in Buffalo that helps folks with imaginative and prescient loss, thanked the Bills’ fanbase – often known as the “Bills Mafia” – after a lot of them donated in $17 increments, a nod to star quarterback Josh Allen’s jersey quantity. 

Samantha Burfiend, VIA’s advertising and communications supervisor, advised CBS News on Thursday that their preliminary response was “pure shock” after the primary donation. Then after the subsequent 20 got here in, she mentioned, they knew it could the donation tally could be large. As of Thursday morning, the followers helped elevate $40,000, she mentioned.

“We are still in awe and are taking this as an opportunity to educate the public about those living with vision loss and the great asset they are to our community,” she mentioned, whereas thanking Bills followers for understanding VIA’s “importance to the community.”

It all began after the Bills’ disappointing loss on Sunday. Many followers thought a missed go interference penalty throughout the sport probably influenced the end result. Instead of sulking, they turned their anger into motion. 

Hunter Schinabeck, a lifelong Bills fan, was one in every of them. VIA posted a message on Twitter that he despatched the group together with his donation. 

“It is saddening to witness someone being unable to see the blatant pass interference on Stefon Diggs (Buffalo Bills, #14). hopefully, this donation is a small step in the greater fight of fighting blindness and getting those with visual impairment the help they need so something like this never happens again,” he wrote, in line with VIA. 

He advised CBS affiliate WIVB that he discovered the charity after a fast Google search.

“They seemed to be doing a lot of good, so it was an easy decision at that point,” Schinabeck mentioned. “And then I just made my donation in honor of the NFL refs.”

“While we recognize that NFL referees are not visually impaired, $17 makes an impact on VIA to help individuals who are losing their vision,” Burfiend mentioned. 

Burfiend mentioned the cash will go towards schooling, imaginative and prescient rehabilitation, job coaching, job placement and help for folks of all ages. Clients vary from infants to these greater than 100 years outdated who’re legally or completely blind, she added. 

It’s not the primary time Bills fan stepped up for charitable causes. Earlier this 12 months, Bills followers donated to Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson’s charity after he received injured throughout the AFC divisional playoff sport. 

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