The Steelers defensive captain does far more than just provide All-Pro level play on the field. He helps provide for the city of Pittsburgh.
The Pittsburgh Steelers have been fortunate in the Mike Tomlin era to have some tremendous human beings wear the black and gold. And when I say tremendous human beings, I am referring to the players who have gone out and done their part to make the community a better place.
Unfortunately, too many NFL stories stem from the negative: arrests, unruly behavior and even the suspensions which follow the abuse of substances. While the negative stories often time move the needle in the media, it is also important to recognize, and appreciate, those who are doing good in their respective communities.
For the current Steelers team, you would be hard pressed to find someone who does more in the Pittsburgh community than Cam Heyward. Heyward developed his foundation, The Heyward House, in hopes of making the Pittsburgh area a better place, and he has done more than succeed up to this point.
While some players’ foundations focus on just one area, like providing school supplies for students in need, Heyward decided to take a broader approach to helping. The Heyward House provides and supports the following services and initiatives:
- The Literacy Project
- COVID Response
- Voices of Hope Scholarship
- Acts of Kindness
- Cam’s Birthday Bash
- Craig’s Closet
- Sacks for Kids
- Helping Local Students
Yes, you read that correctly. The Heyward House foundation has a hand in all of those tremendous causes. The one underlying theme among all of the aforementioned causes are kids. Heyward has always had a soft spot for helping kids, and helping kids he does.
This desire to help children came from his own upbringing, and the challenges he dealt with as a youngster. The Heyward House’s roots started early in Cam’s young life.
As a child, Cameron had severe asthma. His condition required numerous hospitalizations, resulted in some scary close calls, and made it seem impossible that he would ever play any sport, let alone one as physically demanding as football. This experience taught him not to take anything for granted – the good or the bad. He learned that just because someone else doubts what your future can hold, you should never let that stop you. He is passionate about spreading that message to others.
Cam’s struggles with asthma would pale in comparison to the next life-changing event he would face as a teenager– the death of his father, Craig Heyward. His dad’s death dealt a devastating blow to everyone in his life, but most especially to his four sons. They lost a parent, a friend, and a role model. It also meant that Cameron would be raised by a single mom. He learned firsthand the struggles that parents and children face when there’s only one adult in the house or when a child’s home life is challenging. He knows how important it is for people in those situations to feel the support of the community around them and is determined to offer that support in any way he can.
After reading that, the fact Heyward wants to do whatever he can to help the youth of the greater Pittsburgh area should not come as a shock to anyone.
Whether it’s after-school fitness classes, youth football camps and leagues, youth basketball camps or even protecting children’s rights, Heyward has a hand in all of that, and more, through his foundation.
Throughout his exciting and illustrious career, Heyward has been able to accumulate some tremendous statistics. In 149 games played for the Steelers, he has amassed the following stats:
Tackles: 451 total / 287 solo
QB Hits: 136
Fumble Recovery: 5
While those numbers will certainly have him remembered fondly by members of Steelers nation around the world, he will be remembered for a much different reason in the greater Pittsburgh area. They Heyward House does more than just connect with the Boys and Girls Club; it is built to make its own difference in the community — a community Heyward knows well, and reaching out to children who are feeling the same struggles Heyward felt as a youth.
The Steelers are better with Heyward on their roster, and the Pittsburgh area is better for having Heyward too.
To donate, volunteer or find out more information on The Heyward House, you can check their official website HERE.