Tight end Heath Miller has been active in the fight against breast cancer and raising money for studies, and was on hand to present a check to Magee-Women's Research Institute & Foundation and Magee-Women's Hospital of UPMC in conjunction with A Glimmer of Hope Foundation.
The money will be used for patient education as well as funding genetic testing for premenopausal women with personal and family histories of breast cancer.
"It pulls all of our resources together that are useful for women under the age of 40 or 45 that get breast cancer," said Judy Herstine, the administrator of the Women's Cancer Program at Magee. "The cancer is a little bit different. They are dealing with different things, fertility issues, kids they have to talk to about cancer, genetics. We have been able to pull all of the resources together and look at research protocol for them. This helps tremendously."
The check, which was for $132,300, is just a portion of the over $900,000 A Glimmer of Hope has raised to help fund studies and research, particularly focusing on those diagnosed under the age of 40.
"We have been pushing for this for years and we have been relentless on this," said Diana Napper, the president of A Glimmer of Hope. "It's a different disease in young women. I didn't think it would reach the magnitude of a study where we are the only ones in the country. But we are there. To be able to give this money and support the program through the help of Heath Miller, I am ecstatic. It makes a difference to have a world class athlete and person as well. I appreciate his support."
A Glimmer of Hope has a long tradition of working with the Steelers, beginning with Alan and Julie Faneca and continuing with Miller and his wife Katie.
"A lot of women are faced with breast cancer and that struggle and there is not a lot of research on the premenopausal stage of it," said Miller. "It's neat to see where the work goes. We are happy to help them out."