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Steelers giving back to help kids

Posted Sep 29, 2017

The Steelers did their part to help WDVE raise funds for Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh.

Jerome Bettis called was looking for 36 people to call into the 10th annual DVE Rocks for Children’s Radiothon, an event that raises funds for the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh Foundation, helping to provide services and the highest level of care for children.

Bettis offered up a signed No. 36 Bettis jersey if 36 people would call in and become ‘Rock Stars’ for the foundation. And the Play it Forward Foundation, which the Steelers support, promised $3,600 if enough people called and donated.

When the ‘black and gold’ phone rang, which of course has Renegade as it’s ringtone, caller No. 36 was on the line and it was a familiar voice, Steelers President Art Rooney II, who joined the challenge, making a ‘Rock Star’ donation. The team also donated other items for people who become 'Rock Stars' to be eligible to win.

“I just want to encourage everybody in Steelers Nation to join me and all of the great work you are doing at the Radiothon to support Children’s Hospital,” said Rooney. “It’s a fantastic place. I had a couple of children who had to be in the hospital for a while. I had to spend a couple of nights in there with them. I have been there. The work they do is fantastic for our community.”

The support from the Steelers didn’t stop there.

Ben Roethlisberger also called in to the Radiothon, something he has been a supporter of over the years. Roethlisberger donated $7,000, as well as seven signed jerseys that anyone who donates as a ‘rock star’ are eligible to win.

“All three of my kids have been there for one reason or another,” said Roethlisberger. “For a kid it is a very scary thing. To be able to have Children’s Hospital there, they make it so fun for the kids. It can be scary and they make it fun. The work, the doctors, the facility, it’s an amazing place. I can’t thank everybody enough.

“It’s something Pittsburghers should be proud of. We should be incredibly proud if this. People come from all over the country, maybe the world, to come to our hospital. I am proud to call it our children’s hospital. It’s priceless. It really is. How do you not support kids and children and what they need? When kids have to go to a hospital it’s a scary thing.”

Heath Miller also called in, pledging a signed No. 83 Miller jersey if 83 callers became ‘Rock Stars.’ The goal was reached, and Play It Forward donated $8,300 to the hospital.

And it kept getting better. Brett Keisel, who does his annual ‘Shear Da Beard’ event to benefit the hospital joined the WDVE morning crew to help encourage people to donate. Keisel then took it one step further, donating a No. 99 Keisel jersey, and made a ‘Rock Star’ donation. And Play It Forward stepped up as well, with a $9,900 donation.

Thanks to the efforts of all, especially those who called and donated and the WDVE staff, the Radiothon set a one-hour record for most 'Rock Star' donations ever.

The Steelers have had a long-time association with Children’s Hospital of UPMC, which includes the Radiothon, the Free Care Fund telethon, and player visits to the hospital.

Earlier this week the Steelers’ rookies visited Children’s Hospital, spending time with the patients, playing games, posing for pictures and signing autographs.

“No matter what is going on around the world, or in your personal life, you can come here and see the kids and it immediately puts a smile on my face,” said T.J. Watt. “It’s unexplainable. To be able to take a moment and draw a picture, or play corn hole. To take his or her mind off of what’s going on, it’s so special. To make them happy makes me happy as well. To have us come in and see them and impact the day is so special to us.

“It’s awesome to get out in the community and see how much wearing a Steelers jersey means to people. Anything we can do to help these kids make life easier. They didn’t ask for this life. The way they are fighting gives us inspiration as well. That is why we love to get out in the community, especially coming to Children’s Hospital.”

To donate to the DVE Rocks for Children’s Radiothon, call 412-692-8900. The telethon runs until 7 pm on Friday, Sept. 29. And all 'Rock Star' donations are eligible to win the jerseys. Every donation helps.