“I constantly use it as an example of how to approach anything. One of the things I always talk about that we can control is our attitude, and he does it better than anyone I know.
Mayerik, 38, lives in Winfield, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago.
In the early 1990s, his parents took him to an NFL game between Buffalo and nearby Indianapolis. They were staying in the same hotel as the Bills and he encountered several players in the lobby. He still has a hat signed by John Fina and Bill Brooks. He remembers Darryl Talley and Pete Metzelaars taking the time to chat. And he was addicted.
“It made a very big impression on me,” Mayerik said.
But growing up in the Midwest meant he didn’t have any Bills fan friends. That all changed once Mayerik opened a Twitter account in January and adopted #BillsMafia.
At one point this spring, he sent a direct message to Marc Johnson, a Bills fan and two-time cancer survivor, explaining how he was an inspiration to himself and his son, who was due to have his last surgery. September 3. at Stanford.
“It was a full 24 hour day, basically a Hail Mary,” Mayerik said, “because nothing else had worked.”
Johnson had befriended the late Bills superfan Ezra Castro, who went by the name of Pancho Billa, in the same way throughout their battles with cancer.