On a day for giving, Steelers do their part

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For some, it was simply a night to meet Steelers players, say hello and get their autographs.

But for those who have battled cystic fibrosis throughout their young lives, it was a chance to connect with the players who were there to help them fight their battle and to leave with cherished memories that will last a lifetime.

Steelers defensive end Cam Heyward hosted the annual 65 Roses Sports Auction to benefit the Western Pennsylvania Chapter of Cystic Fibrosis, and brought many of his teammates along with him to sign autographs for those in attendance.

Teammates come out to support Cam Heyward as he hosts the Cystic Fibrosis 65 Roses Sports Auction.

The best part for Heyward, and those touched by the disease, was the chance to interact with the kids and give them the uplifting support they need.

"I have seen that dynamic," said Pat Joseph, executive director of the Western Pennsylvania Chapter of Cystic Fibrosis. "A lot of times we get leadership, but it's always a special thing to see someone like Cam who blends in and enjoys interfacing with some of our younger cystic fibrosis community. The kids who are overjoyed to spend time with Cam, and he with the kids. To see him understand and enjoy that role is truly amazing.

"It's always great to have a guy like Cam who enjoys it and knows it makes a difference. Being around the kids is such a big deal to them."

This is the first year Heyward has hosted the event on his own, last year teaming up with former teammate and long-time host Brett Keisel. Heyward, who has attended every year, has embraced being a part of it.

"You see the impact it has on the cystic fibrosis community," said Heyward. "It's great to see our teammates rally around us and do it for a great cause. These kids struggle with an uncommon disease. It's nice to bring a smile to their faces. It always touches my heart when we get to interact with them.

"The cool thing is you see a big impact being made in the treatment. It's unbelievable that they have already made that much progress."

And that progress is aided by events like 65 Roses.  

"The Steelers have made a difference in the lives of those who have cystic fibrosis," said Joseph. "Every day I pinch myself to say how blessed we are to have the support and friendship of the Steelers. They care about what is happening off the field. They are making plays for diseases like cystic fibrosis."

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