Prosthetic blades and Disney World: Buffalo Bills players fulfill young boy's wish

In a year many would like to forget, Buffalo Bills players Gabriel Davis and Matt Milano gave one fan a gift and a memory he'll keep for the rest of his life.

Jackson DeLude, an 8-year-old double-amputee and Buffalo resident, received a dream vacation to Disney World with a twist -- a set of prosthetic blades that would allow him to run properly, which he hadn't been able to do because of his partially-developed legs being amputated when he was an infant.

Davis, a rookie receiver, and Milano, a linebacker in his fourth season, heard about Jackson while training in their hometown of Orlando, Florida. Their gym is part of Prosthetic & Orthotic Associates, which provides the kind of equipment Jackson needed to be able to run.

It didn't take long for Milano and Davis to decide to pitch in and help.

"We thought it was a great thing to do for Jackson," Milano said. "Christmas time, it was a chance to give back to the community -- especially someone from Buffalo. ... This was a quick thing. We learned about it and in the next couple days, he was doing his thing."

The players covered the cost for Jackson to make the trip with his mother, Ashley, to Orlando, where he was fitted for two prosthetic blades early last week. He tested them out during a visit to Disney's Hollywood Studios last weekend. Jackson's blades were a hit; he said he'd never been able to run and jump the way he was able to in them.

Ashley said she was touched by the generosity her son received.

"When [Davis and Milano] said they were going to help get Jackson blades, there was really no way to describe what we were feeling," she said. "That they're so young and already wanting to be paying it forward and helping out Jackson to be able to run again -- it was amazing.

"Being in Disney for the first time, in his blades, in this magical place together -- he'll never forget it."

"I started to tear up when I saw the first video of him running."
Matt Milano, Bills LB, on watching 8-year-old Jackson DeLude

Milano said he hasn't met Jackson -- it all came together so quickly and these are complicated times during the coronavirus pandemic. But he still became emotional when he first saw video of Jackson with his new prosthetics.

"It's pretty cool. I started to tear up when I saw the first video of him running," Milano said. "He's just so excited, you could tell by his body language -- he's smiling and running around the facility. It was just crazy to see that. He deserves all the attention for this, him being able to now do all the things we take for granted in life."