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Steelers Blog

Steelers’ players always giving back

Posted by Teresa Varley on December 10, 2012 – 10:22 pm

Steelers’ players were busy in the community on Monday, giving back in multiple ways to help some worthy causes.

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Cornerback Ike Taylor hosted his first “Shop with a Jock” event, taking 50 kids served by MHY Family Services on a shopping spree, with each of them receiving $100 to spend.

Taylor, who was joined by several of his teammates, helped the kids pick out items for themselves or family members.

“It’s a good thing to do this,” said Taylor. “It’s about giving back. We have to understand kids look up to us. Taking on a job of a role model, you might not want to but at certain times you have to.”

MHY Family Services provide a safe place for youth to get through the tough times of dealing with psychological or social traumatic experiences. And for Taylor, not just donating to the shopping experience but spending time with the kids meant the world to him.

“Just giving of your time is the best thing that you can do,” said Taylor. “You can give money, but kids appreciate time more than anything. That is a memory. Time is nothing but memories. I could have written a check out, but for me and my teammates to be hands on with the kids is a real true memory.”

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Linebackers LaMarr Woodley and Stevenson Sylvester and defensive end Ziggy Hood hosted a toy drive to benefit Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC at the Mall at Robinson.

“I love to give back,” said Woodley. “When kids are involved, I always want to give back. I remember what it was like as a kid and I want them to enjoy it and have a good time. For people to come out and donate toys, it’s a great feeling to know the kids will have fun and enjoy Christmas. Unfortunately some of these kids will be in the hospital on Christmas and we want to make their Christmas a lot better.”

The line snaked around the mall, with fans arriving before 8 a.m., waiting over nine hours until the start of the event.

“It’s crazy. I didn’t expect there to be as many people as there are. I appreciate everything people are contributing. Thanks to them for helping make this Christmas great.”

The toys ranged from footballs and trucks to baby dolls and board games, all of which will be put together and delivered to the kids at Children’s Hospital on Christmas.

“I wouldn’t want to do anything but this, trying to help the kids out,” said Hood. “It’s an honor to be able to do this. To give toys to kids in the hospital, who can’t come down on Christmas morning to their own tree, is an awesome feeling.”

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 Safety Ryan Clark hosted Cleats for a Cure, raising money for the Ryan Clark’s Cure League in conjunction with the University of Pittsburgh and UPMC. The money raised will aid with research, clinical care and to help find a cure.     

Ever since Clark learned that he carried the sickle cell trait in 2007, when he became ill after playing in the high altitude in Denver, he has wanted to do something to help fight the disease and the Cure League was the perfect outlet for him.

“For me it’s kind of a dream come true, but more than that,” said Clark. “I could never dream this big. I am extremely passionate about it. This is the cause for me. I lost my sister in law to the illness so I know how fatal it can be. To be a part of finding a cure or helping with it is exciting for me. That is why I chose this cause.”

The idea behind Cleats for a Cure was to offer fans something different, as they could bid on player’s game worn cleats that were painted and decorated to fit the players’ personalities.  

“We wanted to give the fans that have been to so many events something different,” said Clark. “It’s a one of kind collector’s piece. You can’t walk into a house and just see James Harrison’s game used signed cleats as an art piece.

“I choose my cleats because I think they are really cool and people love breast cancer awareness month. But it’s not the only fatal illness that we should have awareness for. It is a great cause, but there are other causes too.”

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