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O’Leary family treasures time at One Bills Drive
June 25, 2017 09:00 AM | Kelly Baker

As we grow up, we become increasingly aware of how unpredictable life can be. Even the best drawn up plan can succumb to change without a moment's notice. It is for these reasons that we strive to live each day to the fullest. For Jay O'Leary, a loving husband, proud father and loyal Bills fan, time, while always precious, has become something that he and his family treasure above all else.

A 42-year-old Buffalo native and current resident of Connecticut, O'Leary has always found happiness in life's simple pleasures. It's the little things like, spending time with his family and a Bills win that he desires. Brave and perseverant, O'Leary has continuously kept a positive attitude no matter what life has thrown his way.

On March 1, 2017, after suffering from an unknown illness for several weeks, O'Leary and his wife Jessica took a trip to the hospital. Despite the initial belief that his current condition was not serious, the medical team conducted a day's worth of tests to make sure. It wasn't until around 6:30 p.m. that evening that O'Leary received a diagnosis that would alter his life. He was informed that he had colon cancer and that it had already spread throughout his body.

"It was a shock; they didn't tell me they told her at like 6:30 p.m. that they thought it was cancer," explained O'Leary. "And I had a couple of things done and I got out at 1:30 in the morning."

Knowing that they had to act fast, doctors brought O'Leary in for emergency surgery just days later, where he underwent a five and a half hour long procedure. However, due to the placement of his tumor, the team was not able to remove it fully. After spending 10 days in the hospital recovering, O'Leary was finally able to go home. While attempting to process and accept the incomprehensible news, he was also faced with difficult decisions that would affect his entire family.

"... I wasn't like 'why me?' or 'this is unfair,' I was okay with it," said O'Leary. "It was just one of those things that it is what it is...and try to make the most out of the time there was left. They told me had three to six months with chemo and three to six months without, so that's an easy decision."

Electing to move forward without treatment in order to make more memories with his family, O'Leary is determined to make each day count. With the help of Treasured Time, an organization dedicated to granting the wishes of parents who are ill, and the Buffalo Bills, O'Leary was able to create a new and unforgettable memory.

A Bills fan for over 30 years, he wanted his children - Maxamillion (12), Donatella (almost two) and Julianna "JJ" (six months) to understand his love for the team and the city of Buffalo.

"I wanted to bring my family up to Buffalo, because I loved it when I was up here as a kid," said O'Leary. "I didn't want to move away. The Bills have been a big part of my life for 30-something years, so I wanted them to come up here and see what it's all about... So I thought it was important for them to see why it's important to me and maybe they'll continue it on as long-time Bills fans."

From the moment that the O'Leary family arrived at One Bills Drive on Tuesday, June 6, their unconditional love for one another and the team was evident to everyone they encountered. Packed with a fun-filled schedule, which included a tour of the ADPRO Sports Training Center, a behind-the-scenes look at practice, a tour of New Era Field and a shopping spree at the Bills Store, the group made sure to soak up every second.

Making a pit stop at the Bills media room, Jay was given the opportunity to stand behind the podium as if he were conducting his own press conference. He was also presented with a custom jersey with his name on it.

As the tour continued, the O'Learys found themselves on the sidelines at practice where a few special guests greeted them. Making their way over to say hello was Bills Insider Chris Brown and Bills alumni Phil Hansen. Following practice, Head Coach Sean McDermott, General Manager Brandon Beane and a handful of players also spent time with the family.

It was clear from their smiles and playfulness that Jay's passion for football and the Bills had trickled down to his children. Maxamillion who currently plays football for the family's hometown Manchester Knights, seemed to truly enjoy his afternoon. Jay, who coaches his son's team, was exceptionally happy to show Maxamillion where his love for the game began. A nose tackle, Maxamillion was ecstatic to meet Bills veteran defensive tackle Kyle Williams.

After lunch, it was time to head to New Era Field where the family would get to walk out of the tunnel, take photos on the 50-yard line and and toss around the football. Basking in the beauty of the day, Jay, Jessica, Maxamillion, Donatella and baby JJ shared hugs and laughs. Before the tour concluded, the family stopped at the Bills Store for their exclusive shopping spree.

"It was a great day," said O'Leary when reflecting on the experience. "The Buffalo Bills organization really did a good job...touring the facility, which is world-class. It's impressive here."

O'Leary's positive outlook and resilience proved truly inspiring to everyone he met. Despite his circumstances, he's managed to remain focused on what's important.

"You hear everybody say life is short, it's true," said O'Leary. "So take advantage of whatever time you can with your kids or whatever it is each day. You only live once, so you have to go out there and do it for you - do what you want to do. That's pretty much how I've taken each day of my life, so enjoy the time you have because you don't know when your tomorrows are up. "







As we grow up, we become increasingly aware of how unpredictable life can be. Even the best drawn up plan can succumb to change without a moment's notice. It is for these reasons that we strive to live each day to the fullest. For Jay O'Leary, a loving husband, proud father and loyal Bills fan, time, while always precious, has become something that he and his family treasure above all else.

A 42-year-old Buffalo native and current resident of Connecticut, O'Leary has always found happiness in life's simple pleasures. It's the little things like, spending time with his family and a Bills win that he desires. Brave and perseverant, O'Leary has continuously kept a positive attitude no matter what life has thrown his way.

On March 1, 2017, after suffering from an unknown illness for several weeks, O'Leary and his wife Jessica took a trip to the hospital. Despite the initial belief that his current condition was not serious, the medical team conducted a day's worth of tests to make sure. It wasn't until around 6:30 p.m. that evening that O'Leary received a diagnosis that would alter his life. He was informed that he had colon cancer and that it had already spread throughout his body.

"It was a shock; they didn't tell me they told her at like 6:30 p.m. that they thought it was cancer," explained O'Leary. "And I had a couple of things done and I got out at 1:30 in the morning."

Knowing that they had to act fast, doctors brought O'Leary in for emergency surgery just days later, where he underwent a five and a half hour long procedure. However, due to the placement of his tumor, the team was not able to remove it fully. After spending 10 days in the hospital recovering, O'Leary was finally able to go home. While attempting to process and accept the incomprehensible news, he was also faced with difficult decisions that would affect his entire family.

"... I wasn't like 'why me?' or 'this is unfair,' I was okay with it," said O'Leary. "It was just one of those things that it is what it is...and try to make the most out of the time there was left. They told me had three-six months with chemo and three-six months without, so that's an easy decision."

Electing to move forward without treatment in order to make more memories with his family, O'Leary is determined to make each day count. With the help of Treasured Time, an organization dedicated to granting the wishes of parents who are ill, and the Buffalo Bills, O'Leary was able to create a new and unforgettable memory.

A Bills fan for over 30 years, he wanted his children - Maxamillion (12), Donatella (almost two) and Julianna "JJ" (six months) to understand his love for the team and the city of Buffalo.

"I wanted to bring my family up to Buffalo, because I loved it when I was up here as a kid," said O'Leary. "I didn't want to move away. The Bills have been a big part of my life for 30-something years, so I wanted them to come up here and see what it's all about... So I thought it was important for them to see why it's important to me and maybe they'll continue it on as long-time Bills fans."

From the moment that the O'Leary family arrived at One Bills Drive on Tuesday, June 6, their unconditional love for one another and the team was evident to everyone they encountered. Packed with a fun-filled schedule, which included a tour of the ADPRO Sports Training Center, a behind-the-scenes look at practice, a tour of New Era Field and a shopping spree at the Bills Store, the group made sure to soak up every second.

Making a pit stop at the Bills media room, Jay was given the opportunity to stand behind the podium as if he were conducting his own press conference. He was also presented with a custom jersey with his name on it.

As the tour continued, the O'Learys found themselves on the sidelines at practice where a few special guests greeted them. Making their way over to say hello was Bills Insider Chris Brown and Bills alumni Phil Hansen. Following practice, Head Coach Sean McDermott, General Manager Brandon Beane and a handful of players also spent time with the family.

It was clear from their smiles and playfulness that Jay's passion for football and the Bills had trickled down to his children. Maxamillion who currently plays football for the family's hometown Manchester Knights, seemed to truly enjoy his afternoon. Jay, who coaches his son's team, was exceptionally happy to show Maxamillion where his love for the game began. A nose tackle, Maxamillion was ecstatic to meet Bills veteran defensive tackle Kyle Williams.

After lunch, it was time to head to New Era Field where the family would get to walk out of the tunnel, take photos on the 50-yard line and and toss around the football. Basking in the beauty of the day, Jay, Jessica, Maxamillion, Donatella and baby JJ shared hugs and laughs. Before the tour concluded, the family stopped at the Bills Store for their exclusive shopping spree.

"It was a great day," said O'Leary when reflecting on the experience. "The Buffalo Bills organization really did a good job...touring the facility, which is world-class. It's impressive here."

O'Leary's positive outlook and resilience proved truly inspiring to everyone he met. Despite his circumstances, he's managed to remain focused on what's important.

"You hear everybody say life is short, it's true," said O'Leary. "So take advantage of whatever time you can with your kids or whatever it is each day. You only live once, so you have to go out there and do it for you - do what you want to do. That's pretty much how I've taken each day of my life, so enjoy the time you have because you don't know when your tomorrows are up. "







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