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An important history lesson for you TRUE Steelers fans!

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Old 02-10-2009, 07:12 PM   #1
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Default Steelers’ Polamalu gives local girl with rare cancer strength, hope

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.

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.

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/co...l?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)
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Old 02-10-2009, 07:23 PM   #2
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Default Re: Steelers’ Polamalu gives local girl with rare cancer strength, hope

Another reason for the awesomeness that is Troy P.
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Old 02-10-2009, 08:27 PM   #3
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Default Re: Steelers’ Polamalu gives local girl with rare cancer strength, hope

Troy wins at life
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Old 02-10-2009, 09:46 PM   #4
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Default Re: Steelers’ Polamalu gives local girl with rare cancer strength, hope

As a Father, it almost brings tears to my eyes. Great job Troy.
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Old 02-10-2009, 09:55 PM   #5
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Default Re: Steelers’ Polamalu gives local girl with rare cancer strength, hope

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.
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Old 02-10-2009, 09:55 PM   #6
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Default Re: Steelers’ Polamalu gives local girl with rare cancer strength, hope

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.
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Old 02-10-2009, 10:01 PM   #7
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Default Re: Steelers’ Polamalu gives local girl with rare cancer strength, hope

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.
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Old 02-10-2009, 10:24 PM   #8
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Default Re: Steelers’ Polamalu gives local girl with rare cancer strength, hope

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.
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Old 02-10-2009, 10:32 PM   #9
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Default Re: Steelers’ Polamalu gives local girl with rare cancer strength, hope

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.
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Old 02-10-2009, 10:34 PM   #10
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Default Re: Steelers’ Polamalu gives local girl with rare cancer strength, hope

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.
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