Christmas is still less than two weeks away, but it came early for Maverick Giles.
Giles, an 18-year old from St. Louis, Michigan, was the guest of the Steelers at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex on Friday through the Make-A-Wish Foundation, taking in practice, meeting the players, and getting plenty of autographs and photos.
“I grew up watching the Steelers,” said Giles. “My dad was a Steelers fan, so growing up all of my baby pictures and stuff I am in Steelers stuff. It’s inbred into the system.
“I couldn’t believe I was coming here at first. Now that I am actually here, I can’t believe it. It’s like a dream. As soon as I saw JuJu Smith-Shuster out there I got goose bumps. I couldn’t believe it.”
Giles, who has a heart condition, suffered cardiac arrest after he collapsed during basketball practice at St. Louis High School just over two years ago. Thanks to a quick thinking coach doing CPR, and fast response by police who used an AED, they were able to revive Giles.
Giles will also be the guest of the team at Sunday’s game against the Patriots at Heinz Field.
“I am from Michigan, so I have seen them play in Detroit,” said Giles. “But never at Heinz Field. I am really excited.”