PITTSBURGH (KDKA)– The medical history and come-back of Steelers running back James Conner has been well documented.
The background of Miss Pennsylvania Tiffany Seitz is not as well known.
Yet they were given a special honor by the Pittsburgh Steelers and Holy Family Institute at the Annual Courage House Luncheon at Heinz Field.
Steelers past and present were there to celebrate with them.
Sister Linda Yankoski of the Holy Family Institute was thrilled for Conner and Seitz to share the stage.
“We have two wonderful young people who exemplify what it means to live a life of value and courage.”
Seitz is a Pittsburgh native who was born cocaine positive due to her mother’s addiction. Doctors were convinced she would have mental and physical disabilities – if she lived for more than two weeks.
“I probably wouldn’t graduate high school,” Seitz said of their predictions. “I wouldn’t live past my first birthday — so it’s really great to be able to do all those things. I have graduated from high school and college and so this new adventure is a testament to that story.” Next, Seitz will represent Pennsylvania in the Miss American Pageant.
Conner is the other honoree. His bounce-back story has been told many times. While rehabilitating a knee injury in college, he was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.
Six months later he was declared cancer-free and was able to resume his football career at Pitt. Now, he is in his third season in the NFL with the Steelers.
“We all have stories about what we have been through,” said Conner. “To see somebody else who continued to — you know odds stacked against them — be able to come out on the other side is awesome to see.”
It is the 27th year the Pittsburgh Steelers worked to raise money for the Holy Family Institute and their support programs.
Steelers owner Art Rooney II played football against Holy Family when he was a boy. He has a lifetime of watching the work they do in Pittsburgh.
“Continue to serve people in our community that have needs that aren’t always being met. You know they have been there for people for decades now, and so now we are honored to be able to be a part of it.”
For Conner and Seitz who know all about showing great courage, they acknowledge they could not have done it alone.
“You just realize the bigger picture of things, and that’s why we are here today,” said Conner.