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mesaSteeler
02-10-2009, 06:12 PM
Steelers’ Polamalu gives local girl with rare cancer strength, hope
By Wendy McCardle, wmccardle@altoonamirror.com
POSTED: February 10, 2009

PITTSBURGH - Wendy Miller speaks quietly on the phone from just outside her daughter's room on the hematology and oncology floor at Children's Hospital in Pittsburgh, where the Osterburg family has been camped out on and off for about four months.

''Our whole world was rocked in October,'' she says.

That's when Miller and her husband, Don, learned their 10-year-old daughter, Heather, was diagnosed with Ewing's Sarcoma after tumors were found in her second rib and tissue on her lung. The couple also has an 11-year-old daughter, Hannah.

Ewing's Sarcoma is a cancer of bone and soft tissue.

More than their unwavering faith and constant support system, the one thing that seems to help tomboy Heather through the rounds of radiation, chemotherapy, chest tubes and surgery comes in the form of a long-haired safety for the Pittsburgh Steelers. :thumbsup:

Troy Polamalu, who frequently visits Children's Hospital in his down time, met Heather when she was in the hospital for her second round of chemotherapy.

Wendy Miller said Polamalu refuses to talk about his football prowess. Instead, he plays "Rock Band" for hours at a time with the Chestnut Ridge fifth-grader and sends her text messages to let her know he's thinking about her.

''He could be so self-absorbed, but he's not,'' she said. ''He is all about Heather, talking about how strong she is.''

On their first meeting, the two exchanged bracelets: a Greek Orthodox yarn bracelet made up of 43 knots with 7 crosses each from him and a green rubber bracelet from Heather with her motto on it - F.R.O.G., or Fully Rely on God.

On Jan. 26, as Polamalu geared up for the Super Bowl in Florida, Heather was facing surgery. Polamalu sent her a text message a couple of days before and then again twice the day of her surgery - his Media Day in Florida.

One message read, ''I am so proud of you. You're so tough.'' Another simply said, ''I miss you.''

''It meant the world to me that I could see her smile before surgery,'' her mother said.

The day after Pittsburgh's Super Bowl victory came another message: ''How about that, Heather? I hope that makes you happy.''

Before a Super Bowl practice in Pittsburgh a couple of weeks ago, Polamalu called Heather ''awesome.''

''Heather is very special,'' he said. ''She, I can definitely say, is my No. 1 fan, without a doubt, since I first met her.''

Polamalu is more than a football player to the Miller family.

''When we have a down moment, it never fails that he's there for us. He is a true angel for us,'' she says. :thumbsup:

Heather was planning an extended visit back home this week when she leaves the hospital Wednesday, but the results of recent tests mean she likely will return to the hospital Monday to begin six weeks of radiation five days a week and then 12 weeks of chemotherapy.

''There is no remission with this type of cancer,'' Wendy Miller said. ''Instead, there's what's called a five-year plan. If there's no reoccurrence in five years after visits and scans, she'll be labeled 'disease-free.' It's definitely a marathon, not a sprint.''

Mirror Staff Writer Wendy McCardle is at 946-7520.
Subscribe to The Altoona Mirror

http://www.altoonamirror.com/page/content.detail/id/515964.html?showlayout=0

(There is a very nice picture of the young lady and Troy at the above URL if an admin wants to post it . Good for Troy, he is a true Steeler. I sure hope the young lady pulls through. Best wishes for Heather and her family. - mesa)

SteelCurtain7
02-10-2009, 06:23 PM
Another reason for the awesomeness that is Troy P. :tt:

SuzyPeppercorn
02-10-2009, 07:27 PM
Troy wins at life

steeltheone
02-10-2009, 08:46 PM
As a Father, it almost brings tears to my eyes. Great job Troy.

Hapa
02-10-2009, 08:55 PM
It's so crazy that he's such a soft spoken man who seems to care about people so much, but he goes out on the field and flies around a destroys people.

stlrz fan
02-10-2009, 08:55 PM
That's the kind of person young people should be looking up to. What a good person that is exactly what I would expect from him.

drizze99
02-10-2009, 09:01 PM
I am glad Troy is getting press about this....

I knew about this a while ago. My brother and his wife went to some all inclusive resort and met a couple while there. My brothers wife is a doctor and thisother woman they met is a nurse at Children's Hospital in Pittsburgh.

She told them that Troy is always there visiting the children. He refuses to sign autographs for any of the hospital staff members and simply tells them that he is there for the kids. He gives his cell phone number out to the kids and tells them to call or text them if they are sad. He has even paid for some childrens funerals.

Troy is more than just a football player.... He is an angel on earth and someone you hope your kids look up to.

Bigben87
02-10-2009, 09:24 PM
I was having a bad day (just got turned down for a job that I was really hoping to get)...and reading this story really put things in perspective. I'm so thankful to have the things I do have (a home, my health, and my friends)...and that there are people, especially high profile, multi-million dollar athletes, that'll go out and do these kind of deeds. Kudos to Polamalu. Not only is he a good Christian, but, more importantly, a good person.

Benzbrother
02-10-2009, 09:32 PM
Just got like rediculous chills reading this story....Troy knows that life is about more than football and it's great that he gives his time to such awesome causes. Its really good to know that somebody uses their fame for the right reasons.

jev7452
02-10-2009, 09:34 PM
its so good to know that some of the people that kids look up to really are genuinely great people. i have always held a great deal of respect for troy but reading this gave me chills! what an incredible person! my prayers are going out to the Miller family.

GBMelBlount
02-10-2009, 09:39 PM
Troy is more than just a football player.... He is an angel on earth and someone you hope your kids look up to.

Angel indeed. Troy is a great man.

Galax Steeler
02-11-2009, 03:54 AM
Nice read on Troy he is one hell of a man.

SCSTILLER
02-11-2009, 07:58 AM
I wish there were more people like Troy in this world, it would be a much better place.

drizze99
02-11-2009, 08:09 AM
It looks like Heather has her own site that is updated often:

http://www.commercialwebbing.com/heather.html

Looking at the pictures, it looks like Troy gave her his game worn AFC Championship jersey.

Vincent
02-11-2009, 09:01 AM
This Polamalu fellow is a remarkable example of kindness, humility and charity. The Heather story brings tears to my eyes.

The smile is enough to stop your heart. They obviously mean a lot to each other.

http://www.altoonamirror.com/photos/news/lg/515964_1.jpg

This may have posted before and apologies if it was. Its another Troy story. Not quite the Heather story, but another quiet example of this great Steeler's heart...

http://www.trojanwire.com/football/troy-polamalu/

Troy Polamalu is, unquestionably, The Man

Kyle Bunch, TrojanWire
How's this story about Super Bowl champion Troy Polamalu, via Chuck Klosterman:
I have a friend named Ellen Shafer, and she knows nothing about football. A few months ago, she traveled to Pittsburgh to see a play; while she was there, Ellen went to a restaurant with a British woman who knows even less about football then she does. They found themselves seated directly next to a man and a woman who were polite and soft-spoken; the man was swarthy, handsome, and had very long hair.

Much to Ellen's surprise, strangers constantly walked up to this unknown man and asked for his autograph. At first, Ellen assumed this person must be a rock star; he looked a little like Metallica guitarist Kirk Hammett. But after awhile, Ellen deduced this fellow must be a professional football player, because so many of his admirers mentioned admiration for his ability to hit people with extreme prejudice.

Eventually, Ellen introduced herself. "I have no idea who you are," she said, "but your wife has amazing shoes." This statement made the long-haired man very happy. He introduced himself: He said his name was Troy Polamalu.

For the next hour, these four people made casual conversation, never discussing sports or celebrity. Ellen found him to be amazingly friendly and relentlessly humble.

Eventually, the long-haired man (and his wife) exited the restaurant. Ellen and her friend chatted about how affable the pair had been, and how cool it was that Mr. Polamalu had seem so legitimately interested in their own boring lives.

Ellen and her friend signaled the waiter for the check, curious about how much money they owed. But when the waiter came over to their table, he told them everything was taken care of: The long-haired stranger had quietly paid the totality of their bill.

memphissteelergirl
02-11-2009, 09:33 AM
Players coming into the NFL should take notes....this is the kind of player they should emulate. Not just for his tremendous talent as a player, but for his mindset that his fortune and fame are not just about him, but helping somebody else.

God continue to bless you, Troy!! :thumbsup:

aries4972
02-11-2009, 10:35 AM
..... why do I have to turn on ESPN and get 24hrs of non-stop “Pac-man shooting up the club... Burress shot his eye out...... T.O is ... well T.O....... A-rod steps to the plate with a needle in his ass..... all these self absorbed overpaid over hyped prim Donna little boys.. and then you have a MAN like Troy Polamalu who is not only is one of the BEST to EVER play at his position but above all that he's a DAMN fine human being. Where are THESE stories ESPN? You say its a shame that our kids look up to these ahole athletes but that’s all you ever put in front of them. well here in Pittsburgh we have an athlete, a player, a man who epitomizes what a young athlete should strive to be like Let's here THIS story ESPN

:tt::tt::tt::tt::tt::tt:

brick
02-11-2009, 10:48 AM
makes me even prouder that we have guys like this in our organization

Steely McSmash
02-11-2009, 11:15 AM
..... why do I have to turn on ESPN and get 24hrs of non-stop “Pac-man shooting up the club... Burress shot his eye out...... T.O is ... well T.O....... A-rod steps to the plate with a needle in his ass..... all these self absorbed overpaid over hyped prim Donna little boys.. and then you have a MAN like Troy Polamalu who is not only is one of the BEST to EVER play at his position but above all that he's a DAMN fine human being. Where are THESE stories ESPN? You say its a shame that our kids look up to these ahole athletes but that’s all you ever put in front of them. well here in Pittsburgh we have an athlete, a player, a man who epitomizes what a young athlete should strive to be like Let's here THIS story ESPN

:tt::tt::tt::tt::tt::tt:
+1

It's not even as if this story wouldn't bring in ratings either. What a guy!

Dino 6 Rings
02-11-2009, 11:19 AM
Sign this guy for life already.

He is a great ambasitor of the game and the Spirit of hard work and humility that every American could be proud of.

Dang...I'm almost crying reading that article and thinking about how Good this guy is for the sport, the city and fans all over the world. This is how a real professional acts.

devilsdancefloor
02-11-2009, 01:09 PM
it is so awesome to hear stories like this! for the most part we jsut hear about the chris henrys the pacman jones! Troy is a great man on and off the field!

SteelerFanInCA
02-11-2009, 02:39 PM
Troy you make us proud. Way to go Troy.

SteelfanDFW
02-11-2009, 07:37 PM
This is just one of the reasons Troy is my favorite Steeler. Pure awesomeness.

steelerNATION
02-14-2009, 12:43 AM
Not only is Troy Polamalu a very talented football player and sportsman, but he is also changing lives. It's good to see that there are pro athletes that take the time to do that nowadays. Its an amazing thing

klick81
02-14-2009, 10:02 AM
He's an amazing human being. Wow.

HometownGal
02-14-2009, 10:12 AM
What an amazing and incredibly beautiful story! I got the chills reading about the deep friendship that has developed between this sweet young girl and our Troy. This is a man who has a :heart: bigger than the state of Texas. God Bless you Troy and may God cure this sweet child from her cancer. :hope:

Godfather
02-14-2009, 11:49 AM
it is so awesome to hear stories like this! for the most part we jsut hear about the chris henrys the pacman jones! Troy is a great man on and off the field!

If Goodell had any brains, the NFL would name an All-Character Team each season and recognize them at the Pro Bowl (in Hawaii the week after the Super Bowl the way it should be, not the week before in Miami).

BlackAndGold4Ever
02-14-2009, 03:49 PM
This story brought tears to my eyes. Troy is an awesome person who I thank god is also an awesome Steeler. Way to go Troy!