Linebacker James Harrison will wreak his usual havoc at Heinz Field on Sunday when the Steelers host the San Diego Chargers, but on Saturday it was a completely different side of Harrison that was on display at Heinz Field.
Harrison hosted the third annual James Harrison Family Foundation Brunch with Santa, having fun with all of the guests, but the kids in particular who he has a soft spot for.
“This is fun,” said Harrison. “You hang out with the kids and those that come to support it. They all get to see some of my teammates and myself and just have a good time.”
While it is fun, there is something bigger behind the event and that is to raise funds to aid in Harrison’s mission of helping children with disabilities. Last year Harrison said his goal was to provide a handicapped accessible van to help Kendle Haught, a young girl he met several years ago through his involvement with the Muscular Dystrophy Association Muscle Team. He was able to do that, and the van has been a blessing for her family, easing the daily struggles of getting around.
“It has meant so much to us,” said Haught’s mother Kristy Miklic. “We have been trying to get a van for years. Kendle’s been in the wheelchair since she was three and she is now 10, and thanks to James and the foundation we were able to get the van. It’s been amazing.
“James means so much to us. He goes above and beyond for our family and other families through his foundation. He doesn’t have to do that, but he does. He goes out of his way to help. He cares so much and has a special place in his heart for Kendle and kids with special needs.”
Harrison posed for pictures with the guests along with a special friend – “The Grinch,” who Harrison was nothing like. Then he and some of his teammates signed autographs for everyone, including some of the kids who will benefit from his generosity and caring.
“It’s an opportunity to help someone less fortunate than yourself,” said Harrison. “My thing is helping children. There is nothing a child has done to put them in the situation they are in. You feel helpless and want to do whatever you can to help them.”