Holmes trying to strike out sickle cell

On Tuesday afternoon Santonio Holmes announced his retirement from the NFL as a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers, the team that was closest to his heart.

On Tuesday evening, Holmes was joined by current and former Steelers players for an event that is even closer to his heart.

Holmes hosted 'Strikes Against Sickle Cell' at Manor Lanes, an event that benefitted the Santonio Holmes III & Long Foundation.

Holmes son T.J. suffers from sickle cell disease and is currently under treatment for the disease, which is a life-threatening blood disorder. Holmes' goal is to bring awareness and to help with treatment for the disease, as well as help families who are dealing with it.

"This is special to me because my son suffers from sickle cell," said Holmes. "To give these kids an opportunity to know somebody cares about them and their well-being and would love nothing more than to help cure this disease and research to be done so people dealing with it can have a broader understanding of what they are dealing with."

Holmes chose bowling as an event, because it's something kids that have the blood disorder can participate in, without feeling the effects other physical sports can bring with it.

"It's fun to bring families together to show kids who have sickle cell they can be active in everyday life and enjoy things in life they don't always experience," said Holmes. "I am an advocate for the sickle cell disease. I look forward to making a big mark on the kid's lives to help them in the future."

He joked he might not be the best bowler out there, but that isn't what this night was about.

"I love to bowl," said Holmes. "I challenge myself to go out and get better every time. You go out and have the chance to win the game and can't blame anyone but yourself if you mess up and lose the game.

"I want the kids and parents to understand you direct your own path in life no matter what you encounter in your life. That is why we are bowling strikes against sickle cell, because we want these kids and families to feel empowered with their own lives and know they can take more control of their lives by being more active."  

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