The smile is sometimes all you need to see.
It is the tell-tale sign of how much fun a kid is having, and the smile on 11-year old Earnest ‘E.J.’ Jones face said it all.
He was having a blast.
Jones was the guest of the Steelers and Toby’s Dream Foundation at practice at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex on Friday afternoon. Jones, who is from Virginia, suffers from Hemoglobin SS disease and his wish was to see the Steelers practice and play.
“The Steelers are my favorite team. I have always been a Steelers fan,” said Jones. “My dad was a fan so that is how I became one too.”
Jones not only watched practice, but he also had the opportunity to meet players and coaches, including his favorites – JuJu Smith-Schuster and Coach Mike Tomlin.
The Steelers grant the wish of a young Steelers fan from Virginia Beach, VA
“JuJu is a wide receiver, that is the position I play,” said Jones. “It’s so nice to be out here. I am really liking seeing them play and get better.
“I get to see the Steelers, my favorite team play. This is a big moment for me.”
An even bigger moment did happen when he talked to Tomlin and Smith-Schuster. Jones has been bullied at school because of his condition and in an effort to speak out about bullying developed his own apparel line – FATH – which stands for ‘Forget About The Hate.’
Jones gave both Tomlin and Smith-Schuster one of his hats, which touched their hearts. Smith-Schuster took him in the locker room, where he gave him a pair of his cleats, gloves and video game swag.
Jones, who said he wants to be ‘strong for the world’ will also be at the game against the Colts on Sunday with his family.