By Teresa Varley
A hospital can be a scary place for a child, and at the holidays it can be even worse. That is why several Steelers were happy to participate in the Children's Hospital annual family holiday dinner and do their best to bring smiles to the faces of the kids.
Some kids were a bit timid, while others wanted to talk football all day with safety Ryan Clark, linebackers James Farrior and James Harrison and tight end Heath Miller and play games with Harlem Globetrotter Hot Shot Branch.
"It's always good if you have an opportunity to hopefully bring a smile to their face or brighten their day," said Miller. "Days in here can be sad, but hopefully we can brighten their day a little bit. Maybe this is their special way of enjoying Christmas."
Clark, who has three children of his own, counts his blessings of having healthy children and was happy to be able to do his part to make the kid's day a little brighter.
"It's cool to come out and try to put a smile on their faces," said Clark. "Having children myself, when the kids are sick and things like that it's tough on the family. You look at kids as so innocent and they haven't done anything to deserve to be in the hospital. God allows us to put a little sunshine into their lives.
"I just couldn't imagine being a child and not being able to be out celebrating the holiday season. If we can come and do a little bit it's so worth it."
The players signed photos for the kids, shared lots of laughs and also posed for pictures with them.
"Kids like us. I like kids," said Harrison. "It's an opportunity to come out and do something and put a little bit of joy into somebody's life. Considering how blessed I am up until this point, it's a great opportunity to give back."
The kids also had the chance to play plenty of games as theme of the party was a "Holiday Carnival."
"They are in the hospital and it's the holidays and we wanted to give them something to look forward to," said Farrior. "We wanted to bring some joy into their life."
It was easy to tell they were successful in their efforts just by seeing the kids faces light up, but 16-year old Macy Gibbs from Toronto, Ohio, who has been in Children's Hospital for five weeks and will be home for Christmas, said it best.
"It makes my whole life, my whole visit here brighter," said Gibbs. "I love the Steelers. This was amazing. This was the best part of being here."