Warm hearts heat up a chilly night

Outside a cold, winter rain made for a chilly December evening in Pittsburgh.

But the atmosphere and energy at the Cystic Fibrosis 65 Roses Sports Auction quickly warmed things up, as Steelers' players took part to help in the fight to find a cure, while bringing plenty of smiles.

"We have always thought about this event as the culminating event for us here in Pittsburgh," said Pat Joseph, executive director of the Western Pennsylvania Chapter of Cystic Fibrosis. "It's rather fitting because it's when the Steelers are getting into high gear. Together we celebrate, we celebrate the Steelers and the efforts they make not only helping cystic fibrosis, but so many causes in the community that are in need of awareness and a shot in the arm.

"It's such a shot in the arm to the CF community and our patients and families to see that fabulous team out on the field really has our back as well. It's almost like they are suiting up with us."

On hand to help were Anthony Chickillo, Stephon Tuitt, Jordan Dangerfield, Travis Feeney, B.J. Finney, L.J. Fort, Jerald Hawkins, Tyler Matakevich, Canaan Severin and Robert Golden, who mingled with guests and signed autographs.

They also had the opportunity to meet Anthony Sarkis, a young boy who lives with cystic fibrosis and understand the battle he faces.   

"Just hearing what he goes through on a day-to-day basis, it makes you realize how blessed you are to be in the position to give back and make an impact on somebody's life," said Chickillo. "Anything you can do to give back to the community, being in the situation we are in, you should do it. You can make people smile just by being around them and talking to them. It's a blessing to be able to do that."

And while much of the event was about bringing smiles, it's also about raising funds to help find a cure for the disease.

"Each year we say this is our finish line," said Joseph. "We look at this event as a portrayal of where we are headed and the progress we made. It's our focus. When Coach (Mike) Tomlin talks about the game plan with his guys, that game plan is our strategy. This is something that helps us meet our goal."

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