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Former ECU star doing his part to give back to Greenville charity

Before Zay Jones was scoring touchdowns in the NFL, you would often find him at Aces for Autism. Even now, he keeps in touch with his old friends. (Contributed photo)

Even in his offseason, Zay Jones loves to compete.

Through a social media challenge, the former East Carolina University wide receiver -- now playing for the Buffalo Bills -- is raising money and awareness for Aces for Autism in Greenville. It's part of a race to raise $5,000 for favorite charities.

Before Jones was scoring touchdowns in the NFL, you would often find him at Aces for Autism. Even now, he keeps in touch with his old friends.

"He called me last week and said 'Hey, check out social media," said Kyle Robinson, Board Director for Aces for Autism. "I'm doing a challenge versus thsi model in LA (Los Angeles.)."

"This is my little friend, Samuel, this is Samuel's family...guys let me just tell you, the impact they've had on me has just been tremendous," Jones said through a social media post.

Just 30 minutes after Jones posted his video on Instagram, challenging his followers to donate, he had met his goal. So far, he's raised more than $8,400 and the challenge is still going strong.

"We're just real humbled and appreciative for Zay and his heart," Robinson said.

"It shows that Greenville as a whole and ECU as a whole spreads wider, considering he plays for the Bills now but still is willing to give back and come back to ECU," said Alison Couse, Registered Bahavior Techician and a junior at ECU. "It shows that we're not just some tiny little town in North Carolina."

Jones is not only raising money. He's also helping create awareness.

"Autism affects 1 in 68 nationally, 1 in 58 in North Carolina," Robinson said. "For him to use our organization's name on a national level to bring awareness to something that affects so many children and families, it's priceless what he's doing for our organization."

Funds raised go to children whose family insurance may not be able to cover the costs. If you would like to help or learn more, click here.

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