BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Chiefs fans are saying “no hard feelings” after the team knocked the Bills out of the playoffs this week.
Sunday’s game determined who would go on to battle the Cincinnati Bengals for the AFC Championship. With a touchdown in overtime, the Chiefs became that team.
This devastating loss crushed the spirits of Bills fans everywhere, but now, the Chiefs are giving them a reason to smile.
Oishei Children’s Hospital says fans of the Kansas City team have been sending in donations of $13 to the hospital. And as of Wednesday morning, leaders with The Children’s Hospital of Buffalo Foundation reported receiving around $184,000.
Wednesday evening’s update from Oishei said a $13,000 donation from Oxford Pennant has pushed the total up to $255,017.
And by Friday morning, we learned that the total had surpassed $400,000.
There’s a reason donors are choosing that amount. With 13 seconds of play left, the Chiefs were able to bring the game to a tie, allowing play to continue past the four quarters. But the Chiefs fan who started the trend said it was not supposed to be a jab at Buffalo.
Brett Fitzgerald, who first posted the idea on Facebook, originally had the idea to donate in $13 to Patrick Mahomes’ foundation, but after hearing from a friend that Bills Mafia usually donates to other team’s charities, he decided to change it to Oishei Children’s Hospital. He looked online and found out the hospital was the charity of choice for Josh Allen. He told News 4 in retrospect, he wish he had changed the donation amount to $17, so it didn’t seem like a jab.
“After about an hour or so, after it started blowing up, I said, ’17 would’ve been more appropriate,’ but the way I see it is, it’s a way for Chiefs fans to celebrate that we won, and how, and at the same time, giving much due respect to Josh Allen, the Bills and Bills Mafia.”
But no matter the donation increment amount, the money is much needed help to the hospital. The Vice President of the Foundation The Children’s Hospital of Buffalo Foundation, Andrew Bennett, said the need there never really goes away. Donations to the hospital make ends meet, and help to advance resources at the hospital.
“What’s been really cool for us is seeing Buffalo and this hospital put on a national stage, because it should be,” Bennett said. “The work that’s done here every day; the care providers that we have; the experts that we have; and just what a wonderful place this is for kids and families in this community.”
And as it turns out, Oishei was the perfect place to give to for the guy who started it all. Brett Fitzgerald has a son who has autism and his family cares deeply for their local children’s hospital. He said Bills Mafia should feel honored they’ve started such an incredible trend of giving.
“The credit goes to Bills Mafia,” he said. “I’m just some guy who put something on the internet.”
Kelsey Anderson is an award-winning anchor and reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2018. See more of her work here.