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For Tomlin, helping has no boundaries


Steelers Coach Mike Tomlin loves a good rivalry. And he loves Pirates baseball.

So when he can combine the two for a great cause, it makes for the ideal afternoon at PNC Park.

Tomlin was at the Pirates-Phillies game on Sunday cheering on the home team, while at the same time helping a friend who yes, normally wears Ravens gear.

Nestor Aparicio, who owns and is an on-air personality on WNST-AM 1570 in Baltimore and is a huge Ravens fan, is visiting 30 Major League Baseball ballparks in 30 days to bring awareness and help in the fight against a disease that threatened the life of his wife, Jenn.

Jenn Aparicio was diagnosed with leukemia in 2014 and needed a bone marrow transplant. Through an international database a match was found in the form of a 21-year old man in Germany. Now, accompanied by a healthy Jenn for part of the tour, Aparicio is doing his part to help others.

His "Give a Spit" initiative is an effort to build the bone marrow database by having individuals volunteer to be swabbed before entering ballparks. Through a friendship formed with Tomlin at the NFL Owners Meeting, the two teamed up on Sunday before the game on Federal Street, encouraging fans to be swabbed.

"I can't even begin to tell you, when she got sick, how many people were nice to us," said Aparicio, who got choked up thinking about it. "It's unbelievable. You see awful stuff. I live in a city where awful stuff is going on all of the time, but certain people try to get together to make things better."  

After spending pregame gathering volunteers, the group watched the game together, sharing stories, barbs and just having fun.

"I just think it's what sport is about," said Tomlin. "Sport has always been a vehicle for change, for causes, it's just an example of it today. It's good to come together, laugh a little bit, and make each other uncomfortable a little bit. But it's all done in a good spirit and for a worthy cause."

Pittsburgh was the second stop on the tour, which began in Baltimore and will end at the All-Star game in Cincinnati.

"Sports bring everybody together," said Jenn Aparicio. "To be able to cross enemy lines and help out people that support other teams, it all comes down to we still want to help everybody out no matter what color they are wearing."

To learn more or to find out how you can help, visit "Give A Spit.”

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