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Bills Mafia bus honors 2 brothers lost to suicide

At first glance, Matt Marcucci's bus looks like any other stop along the Buffalo Bills tailgate scene. But the story goes much deeper than that: after losing two brothers to suicide, Matt brings the bus to every home opener in honor of their memory.

There's a bus parked in the lot behind O'Neil's on Sunday morning in Orchard Park.

People walking by can come up and get a taste of some meatballs, cooked in wing sauce, called "Buffalo Balls."

Matt Marcucci, one of four Marcucci brothers, will happily feed you; it's a family tradition.

But during the Bills' home opener this year, Matt followed through on another family tradition just by coming to tailgate.

"The one thing we always had was the Buffalo Bills," Matt said.

The Marcucci family agreed years ago that no matter where they lived, they'd always come back to New Era Field for the Bills' home opener - but Matt almost didn't come this year at all.

On August 8, 2010, Matt's brother Michael committed suicide, and Matt can remember plenty of anger and doubt from that day 10 years prior.

At first, going to any future Bills' games was out of the question.

"My little brother Dave was kind of the one told me, 'You've got to keep coming. We've got to keep going,'" Matt said, choking back tears.

And for 10 years, the tradition would carry on in memory of Michael.

Then everything changed on May 22 of this year, when David took his own life.

"I told my mom, I can't do the games no more," said Matt, tears sliding down his cheek. "What am I going to look for, you know? And she said, 'No, you're going to keep doing it. All your friends travel from all over the country to come to the Bills games, and you're not just going to dead that tradition. You're going to keep it up."

Mom always knows best, and less than four months later, Matt would make his way to their tailgate spot once again. But this time, he needed to change things.

After trashing his old van, Matt invested in a new bus, fixing up the interior, painting the outside in Bills colors, and filling the window-panes with pictures of the memories he shared with his brothers.

"It changes you forever. Changed me forever, you know? But I had to bring them here," Matt said. "I had to find some way to bring them here."

And posted in the rear window of the bus, a phone number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

If there's one thing Matt recommends to anyone who's even remotely considered suicide, all he asks is that they talk to someone.

Anyone.

If you or someone you know has contemplated suicide, you can call the National Suicide Prevention Number at 1-800-273-TALK, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

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