Hospice patient has wish for an Eagles-themed party granted in Northampton
Crossroads Hospice and Richboro Care hosted an tailgate party for resident Bill Buonato, 73, during Sunday’s Eagles game as part of the “Ultimate Gift” program.
Some of Stephen Snider’s earliest memories come from attending Sunday afternoon Eagles home games with his grandparents.
For a 1 p.m. game, the ritual was almost always the same.
“We’d get up every Sunday and have breakfast at 8,” Snider recalled Sunday as he looked over his shoulder at his grandfather, Bill Buonato, a season ticket holder for nearly 30 years.
After breakfast Buonato would retrieve his binoculars, triple-check that he had the tickets and by 9 a.m. the crew was off to Fern Rock station to catch the subway down to the stadium.
It was a family affair spearheaded by Bill and wife Jean Buonato, of Buckingham.
On Sunday, the family attempted to recapture those memories at the Richboro Care Center in Northampton where Bill now resides.
An Eagles-themed tailgate party was held at the center for Bill, 73, along with other residents and his family.
The gathering was organized by Crossroads Hospice and Palliative Care as part of its “Gift of a Day” program which grants the wishes of patients. Buonato, according to his wife, is battling hydrocephalus -- a condition which involves a building up of fluid in the brain -- as well as a form of dementia.
“It’s very emotional,” Jean Buonato said with tears in her eyes. She was decked out Sunday in a No. 93 Jevon Kearse jersey, who was on the team the last time the Eagles played in the Super Bowl. She’s hoping quarterback Carson Wentz can lead the Birds back to the big game this year. She bought her husband Wentz’s No. 11 jersey for the party.
Jean Buonato said she was beyond grateful to Richboro Care Center and Crossroads for making Sunday’s event possible.
“When I talked to him about this, he lit up and he was ready to party,” said Nicole Shear of Crossroads.
Shear said “Gift of a Day” has been going on for about 20 years. She’s seen all sorts of wishes from patients be granted — from visits from Elvis impersonators and the Phillie Phanatic to trips to casinos and horse racing tracks.
Bill’s grandson Nick Snider, 18, called him a passionate fan and “a really good guy” that’s done a lot for him and for his brother Stephen over the years.
And Stephen said it goes beyond just football.
My parents both worked jobs so my grandfather would drive me to football and basketball practice growing up,” Stephen said. “He’s a man of principle.”
As the Eagles’ season rolls on, Jean Buonato already has an eye on the playoffs.
“If we have a home game I would love to take him down there,” she said.