One of the great things about the Steeler team and organization is the way they give back to our community. And one of the best traditions is the Christmas blood drive. There's always a need for blood to save lives, and at Christmastime, there's often a shortage of blood. This year, the drive will be held December 26th and 27th, and there are some wonderful incentives for those who participate.Blood donations will be taken at Heinz Field, in the East Club Lounge, from 11am thru 7pm, and everyone who donates will be entered in a drawing for two seats to the Steelers' first playoff game and accommodations at the team hotel.
You can fill in your forms and make an appointment to make it all go more quickly by calling (412) 209-7655 or go to the website www.centralbloodbank.org and follow the prompts. Fill in the group name STEELERS at the appropriate place. Everyone who schedules an appointment and keeps it will receive a choice of a Steelers promotional item.
The Steelers say Ryan Clark will be there on the 27th, but Homer wouldn't be surprised if other members of the Steeler family also drop by.
Three years ago, Aaron Smith went public with the word that his son Elijah was battling leukemia, and Elijah was winning that battle in part because of blood transfusions. The Smiths told their story in hope that Steeler fans would come out and support the blood drive.
Steeler fans read the story in the Post-Gazette, shed more than a few tears, got in their cars, drove to Heinz Field, rolled up their sleeves, and donated enough blood to save 2400 lives. It was an overwhelming response.
"Pittsburgh is a town that takes care of its own," said Aaron, who admitted he, too, was overwhelmed.
Six weeks later, Elijah was doing well enough to accompany his family to the Super Bowl. After the game, down on the field, Aaron held his young son in his mighty arms as the confetti rained down upon them.
Elijah's doing fine now, but this would be a great time to say thanks to Aaron and Jaimie Smith for all they've done for our town and our team. Christmas is a time for giving, and no gift is more precious than the gift of life.