Steelers players flex their muscles to help kids


Steelers' players didn't let the gloomy weather outside dampen the enthusiasm at the 2014 Muscle Team, an event held at Heinz Field that benefits the Muscular Dystrophy Association.

Current and former Steelers' players, former Pittsburgh Pirates and Penguins, members of the Pittsburgh Power and Passion, and Pittsburgh firefighters were teamed with MDA Goodwill Ambassadors for an evening of fun and games for a good cause.

"It's good for the kids to get to see us and meet us off the football field," said fullback Will Johnson. "They are so used to seeing us in helmets and seeing just the name on the back of our jersey. It's good for them to have a chance to meet the person that we are. That alone is huge for the kids.

"It's fun to do this for this cause. I am happy to be here. I never turn down something like this with the kids. And I love playing the games, as long as I don't lose."

The MDA Goodwill Ambassadors are children living with the neuromuscular disease and the Muscle Team event is an opportunity to show the strength that they have, and allow them to enjoy life the same as any other child does.

"I love it," said tackle Kelvin Beachum, who was also joined by Landry Jones, Brian Arnfelt and David Paulson. "MDA is doing a great job. These kids are like any other kids. They have some limits that impair them from doing certain things, but they just want to have fun and be as normal as any person is. They follow me on Facebook and Twitter and text me.

"We as athletes, especially here in Pittsburgh, are able to have a great impact. God has given us a platform to be able to go and touch kid's lives and the lives of others. To be able to spend some time with them at Heinz Field is awesome."

There was a live and silent auction held to help raise funds to support the fight against MDA and to help fund an annual camp for the kids. This year's Muscle Team event honored Pittsburgh Transportation Group President and CEO, Jamie Campolongo, with the Guy Buzzelli, Jr. Champion of Spirit Award.

But the most important aspect of the night was the kids battling muscular dystrophy.

"The fact that these children are MVPs tonight, the most valuable people we have, and partnering with the athletes and having fun is so special," said Cathy Majka, Director of Business Development for MDA. "Everyone comes together to spend time with the kids to make it a memorable night for them. It's an incredible feeling that we can make this happen for the kids. We have games the kids and athletes can both play. Sometimes the kids win and they have an amazing sense of accomplishment when they are playing against these professional athletes and win.

"These kids are so amazingly resilient. They have such positive attitudes. They are like any other child. They want to be the same. They adapt so well. For them, this night is sometimes the opportunity of a lifetime."

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