It's become a tradition among Steelers defensive linemen to be involved and lend a hand to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.
It started with Brett Keisel, then Cameron Heyward, and now Stephon Tuitt has taken over the reins, the latest to host the Cystic Fibrosis 65 Roses Sports Auction.
“It’s an honor they wanted me involved,” said Tuitt. “I want to do my best to show support and help them set out to accomplish their goals. I am a quiet guy, but at the end of the day it’s really important to be involved in the community, help people, and give people opportunities for their cause to be seen.”
Tuitt and his teammates spent time mingling with guests, signing autographs, but even more importantly spending time with CF families, kids, and those with CF, including Sydney Willig, the CF Athlete of the Year.
“As motivating as our fight is, when you have the players they are passionate about everything they do, every game, every practice,” said Pat Joseph, executive director of the Western Pennsylvania Chapter of Cystic Fibrosis. “When they connect with our ambassadors, and families, those in that community feel it. It’s a wonderful thing when you see the excitement and appreciation when they connect with the players. They are the heroes in their lives. It’s so motivating to them to know they aren’t alone, that they are on their team.”
While the event is a fun time to mingle with Tuitt and his teammates, there is a much deeper meaning for it. The purpose is to raise funds to help find a cure and raise awareness for a disease that impacts so many.
“At the end of the day anything we can do to help families have access to resources, be fully educated on the topic, or maybe help a family in that situation that doesn’t know how to get help,” said Tuitt. “To know there are people out there trying to help them, trying to find a cure, that in itself helps people and makes others want to be involved with a cause like this."