Where does one begin? Fans look at athletes like the Pittsburgh Steelers as heroes, dare it be said “God’s” in their perspective sports. Those chosen few that have the privilege of doing what we all wish we could do, and make a very comfortable living doing it. But what a lot of us do not get to see is what these Gridiron Gladiators do off of the field, or how much of an impact they make in their own communities and beyond. These are just a few of the Steelers that do more than just play the game of football.
William Gay: Women’s Center & Shelter of Greater Pittsburgh
Those of you who know of the Steelers’ corner back, William Gay know that his mother was shot and killed by his stepfather, who then turned the gun on himself. Gay was only eight years old at the time.
After being drafted by Pittsburgh in the fifth round of the 2007 NFL Draft, Gay decided to use his platform as a professional athlete to help women and families affected by domestic violence. Something that he obviously believes highly in given his past. That dedication and drive in the memory of his mother still continues to this day.
Gay has sponsored annual Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners for the homeless and residents of shelters since his foundation’s inauguration, and he also gives seminars to men who are known to be the abusers in their families and/or relationships.
“I’m not pointing the finger,” Gay said of those talks at hi seminars, “but trying to show them, let’s make a change.”
Cameron Heyward: The Heyward House
When Cameron Heyward was a child he went through numerous hospitalizations due to a severe case of asthma. So severe that a couple of close brushes with death led this Walter Payton Man of the Year Nominee and Steelers defensive end that he may not play any sport, especially a sport as physically demanding as professional football.
Heyward later had another life-altering event as a teenager when his father, Craig “Ironhead” Heyward died of a cancerous brain tumor back in May of 2006 at the age of thirty-nine. The death of his father, idol and mentor dealt a devastating blow to Cameron and the rest of his family as well. These situations and changes early on in his life is what fueled him to start up The Heyward House in 2015, also known as the Cameron Heyward Foundation.
Outside of Heyward himself taking children of broken homes on shopping sprees for winter clothing, or visiting those in the hospital with serious medical conditions, The Heyward House also supports a number of other foundations. One of their main causes although all of them are important is KidsVoice, which provides a voice for abused and neglected children who otherwise cannot speak for themselves.
“I wanted to be able to connect and help kids throughout Pittsburgh, and KidsVoice is a great outlet that allowed me to do just that,” Cameron said. “The work that KidsVoice does is so important, and it’s an honor to be a part of their mission.”
To learn more about how to help join the efforts of Cameron Heyward in supporting KidsVoice and their clients visit their website.