On Frank Summers and #SupportSally

AP / Phelan Ebenhack

AP / Phelan Ebenhack

Hey, the Bills won. They beat a horrendous team that they should have walked all over by just a touchdown, but they won. I wasn’t even watching the game. I’d been listening at work, took off at halftime, and decided I didn’t need to go out of my way to experience the inevitable heart-wrenching defeat. I was home getting dinner ready for my girlfriend, drinking a beer, and singing (very poorly) to some old Otis Redding tunes.

Then my phone blew up with texts and twitter mentions and emails. I washed my hands to see what the hell all the noise was about and was pleased to see before scrolling the screen that half a dozen people rushed to tell me that Frank Summers, the Bills fullback and by far my favorite sonofabitch in this uniform, scored a touchdown. Some of you may be wondering why that’s a big deal, besides the namesake, strikingly similar good looks (no relation, I promise), and fact that it was the deciding score. No, this week, I’ve got a better reason than all of those.

Over at 26shirts.com, Del Reid (of illustrious #BillsMafia fame) has designed yet another great program aimed towards helping folks in need. I can’t really say enough about Del and how much I love all of the different charity work the guy has led and inspired. Attempting to wouldn’t do him a damned bit of justice. Del set up 26shirts in conjunction with Buffalo-based clothing company YouAndWho who make their shirts to help worthy causes in cities all across the country. 26shirts is a grassroots effort to do two things – create closets full of original Bills-related t-shirts and provide for families and organizations that truly need it. Each design submitted to Del runs for two weeks and then gets retired forever. A new design is released, the last one ships, and every last bit of the profits go to whomever the artist chooses to support.

26shirts / Frank Gifaldi

On my end, I heard about 26shirts through a conversation between a few Bills fans and contacted Del weeks before it launched. He said he’d be thrilled to have me on board and I immediately got to work on designs. After some deliberation and floating ideas to friends, I decided to go with a shirt revolving around my man – Frank “The Tank” Summers and with that, send all the proceeds to the family of little Sally Kabel.

Sally – known by many of the Bills faithful as ‘Sweet Sally Sunshine’ – is the daughter of Matt Kabel, co-founder of the New York City chapter of the Bills Backers. Sally was recently diagnosed with Leukemia and has been undergoing treatments at Memorial Sloan-Kettering in New York City. I’ve never met Matt, unfortunately, but many of my friends and colleagues know him well and I’ve heard nothing but great things about the guy. Good friend and personality extraordinaire over at The Deeg, The Scizz had this to say:

I’ve known Matt since the summer of 2004 when I first moved to NYC and needed somewhere to watch the Bills and feel at home. Matt and the other ex-pats from NYCBBB welcomed me with open arms. So when I heard about Sally’s condition, I figured it would be the perfect time to put all of our snark and dumb jokes aside, and use this platform to help out an amazing family.

As much as we may get down on Buffalo and its sports teams, there is a reason why the place is called “The City of Good Neighbors”. Sally is our neighbor and she needs us right now. Help us #SupportSally and wear the shirt with Buffalo Pride.

Back over the Summer, Scizz set up multiple benefits for the Kabels and developed a partnership with store716.com to create and distribute a shirt to help Sally’s cause. The movement was a success, linking folks together towards helping this little girl and her family to through everything they were experiencing. Just  today, Scizz had another benefit for Sally down in New York that happened to fall right in the middle of my 26shirts campaign. It’s nice when little unexpected things like this just happen to compliment eachother.

There’s still a week left on the sale of my Frank the Tank design over at 26shirts and, to this point, it’s trending towards being the highest selling shirt of the three released through the program thus far. In this past week, my roommate had a coworker shockingly ask him how he knew the guy doing this week’s shirt. I had a family member tell me they bought it before they even knew I made it. The reach we have as a community is incredible. This is the best fanbase in the NFL. Let’s do something with it.

Head on over to 26shirts.com and pick up your Frank the Tank shirt this week. After next Sunday, December 22nd, it’ll be out of production for good. Every dime you spend (past the five-dollar shipping fee – there’s also local pickup available if you are in the Buffalo area) will go to Sweet Sally Sunshine and her family to assist them with the costs that continue to add up with her journey through this whole process.

That neighborly word of mouth brought me these great friends, knowledge of this incredible project, and news of 38’s wonderful game-winning touchdown today. Let take it a little further and make life easier for a family who could use it. It’d mean a lot to everyone involved. Go Bills.