Getting defensive to find a cure

It’s a statistic that is mind boggling. One that is startling. And one, quite honestly, that is just scary.

One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer.

Think about that for a minute. One in eight.

Think about your family. Think about your friends. Think about your co-workers. Think about eight women who you know and understand, one of them could be that statistic.

It’s not a comforting thought by any means. And that is why the Steelers continue to do their part in the fight to find a cure.

For the 18th year the Steelers are supporting A Glimmer of Hope Foundation, a Pittsburgh-based foundation that is focused on not just finding a cure, but helping young women who are battling what can be a deadly disease.

On Monday night, Vince and Javania Williams and Alan and Julie Faneca hosted Bid For Hope, an event that helps raise funds to aid researchers and help those going through treatment. Close to $2 million has been raised thanks to the collaboration with the Steelers through the years, and it just continues to grow.

“Because the Steelers are such an outstanding organization to deal with, it helps us raise so many funds for this event,” said Diana Napper, founder and president of Glimmer of Hope. “The passion within the last four years has been for metastatic breast cancer research. Luckily we have done so well that UPMC is matching our funds once again for research. Having the Steelers involved projected us to another level.”

Williams was on board without question when he was asked to be a part of it, as it’s a cause that is personal to him. Not only does he have family impacted, but a close friend, Shawnika Hunt, wife of Steelers’ pro scouting coordinator Brandon Hunt, is undergoing treatment for breast cancer.

“I had an aunt that had breast cancer. Also my relationship with Brandon Hunt and his wife motivated me to do this. I just wanted to make myself available,” said Williams. “Anytime I get to use the person that I am and my platform to help people, I am always game for it. I am just for any cause that is for promoting positivity and trying to help as many people as possible.”

The players mingled with guests and signed autographs, before helping with a live auction and hearing a performance by Chris Jamison, a Pittsburgh native who finished in third place on NBC’s ‘The Voice.’

“It truly means a lot to us that Vince has stepped up,” said Napper. “He is making a commitment to helping with breast cancer research. It means a lot to me that he is willing to do that.

“I think a lot of men understand, and almost everyone I deal with has someone impacted, the numbers are unfortunately pretty high. It says a lot about their character for them to come out and support the charity. For them to embrace this cause and fight for breast cancer research is remarkable. For these tough football players who play a rough sport, you see a different side of them when they see a breast cancer survivor walk into the event. It’s emotional, but it really touches your heart.”

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