It's a time of year to make wishes and dreams come true, and the Steelers did just that on Friday when they hosted 17-year old Colin Bowser at practice at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex.
Bowser didn't just have a Christmas wish granted, he had a wish that meant the world to him granted.
The visit was arranged through the team and A Special Wish Foundation, who serves those in the Cleveland area who have life-threatening diseases. Bowser has always had a love for football, with the Steelers being his No. 1 team.
His wish was to see the Steelers play, which he will do on Sunday night when they take on the Bills at Heinz Field, and meet some of the players, especially those who have been an inspiration to him.
Bowser's young life hasn't been an easy one. His passion for football had him tryout for the Twinsburg High School Football team. In Sept. of 2017, on a Saturday morning, his mother got a call from the school that he went into sudden cardiac arrest. He received CPR and medics got his heart back into normal rhythm after going into ventricular fibrillation. He was taken by life flight to Akron Children's Hospital, and 24 hours later was awake and alert and just wanted to watch the Steelers play.
It wasn't that smooth though. He had to undergo heart surgery and have an implanted cardioverter-defibrillator inserted because they didn't know what caused the heart attack. A six-month recovery was ahead of him, and it was a struggle. But watching the Steelers play the Bengals that year, he watched when Ryan Shazier suffered a spinal injury. Bowser was concerned for Shazier and followed him on social media as he went through his recovery, something that inspired him to get through his struggles and forge on.
It didn't end there. Bowser started have unusual symptoms the following August, and after tests he was diagnosed with leukemia. He immediately began treatment and soon found inspiration in the battle James Conner went through in beating Hodgkin's lymphoma.
"This is crazy," said Bowser. "I have been watching (Shazier's) journey and seeing him get back into working out. Then when I found out about what James Conner went through. They have been inspirations to me.
"Being here, I can't even explain it. I don't even know what to say. It's something I never thought I would be able to experience. It's hard because I am so excited to be here, but I know I still have to go through the battle. This is something that makes me want to get through the battle even more."
The Steelers grant the wish of a young fan from Cleveland, OH