Troy Polamalu made a particular bond with sufferers and employees on the Kids’s Hospital – WPXI, throughout his keep in Pittsburgh
PITTSBURGH – Former steeler Troy Polamalu couldn’t stop beaming in anticipation of his induction into the Pro Football Hall of Game. He was not only enthusiastic about himself but also about the Steeler nation.
And the Steeler Nation appeared in Canton, Ohio to cheer # 43 as it took his place in history.
Polamalu’s eyes lit up as he reflected on his Steelers career and his time in Steel City. He smiled as he called himself an “Adapted Pittsburgh”. His memories of the Super Bowls and the legends that paved the way are welcome. But there was so much more to his time in Pittsburgh than the football field.
“To be honest, it’s the Pittsburgh culture to want to give something back. It was a passion of ours for me, but we also learn how to give back and how to do it right, ”Polamalu told Channel 11’s Jenna Harner.
One of the special opportunities Polamalu returned to the City of Pittsburgh was his secret visits to the UPMC Children’s Hospital. He went every Friday, slightly disguised, with sweatpants, a hoodie and his hair up.
“It was early in his career and his children were small, or if he had no children he could come and spend hours,” said Michael Shulock, child life specialist at UPMC Children’s Hospital. “It was unbelievable. You could tell that he only wanted to do something for the families and the patients.”
A portrait of Polamalu hangs on the ninth floor of the hospital, a constant reminder of his visits and an honor for the secret guest who made sick children smile.
Kids like Ryder McDermitt. He was diagnosed with AML leukemia before his second birthday. When Polamalu first visited him, his family admitted they didn’t know who he was. But that changed quickly.
“It was just a special bond they had,” said Ryder’s mother Karrie. “It wasn’t even about football. It was about him coming in and spending so much time, not just with Ryder, but with a lot of these kids. “
Ryder called the bond indescribable.
“Not even one in a billion,” said Ryder. “It’s crazy. I just can’t get over it. I mean, I have no words for it.”
Polamalu said the relationships came about naturally because of personalities and similarities with the children and families.
“It was rewarding for me that way because we were able to build authentic relationships. It was very meaningful to me to do that, ”said Polamalu. “I think you have come out of trauma and understand the importance of the little things you can so that people can really help them. And you always want to be there to help them. “
The McDermitts say the Hall of Famer was just himself, but it affected their families and many others in ways they could never have imagined.
“He gave me a bracelet with a pearl. In his pocket he has a number of pearls in there and during the day he separates these pearls and he has memorized them all and he says a prayer for each pearl and he knows which pearl belongs to which child or which one Adult he prays for, ”said Karrie McDemitt.
Ryder still can’t believe that one of his best friends in one of his worst times was one of the best Steelers of all time and one of the most selfless, humble, and helpful people you will meet.
“Someone you didn’t even know or had no idea came into your life and just cared so much. This is amazing, for example. I can’t understand how much he cared about it, ”Ryder said.