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Fanfare: Jerome Bettis returns to Pittsburgh and draws sold out crowd for gala fundraiser

| Sunday, Oct. 15, 2017, 9:00 p.m.
Caterine Barfell, Bus Stops Here Foundation, Jerome Bettis  Caring for Kids Gala, PNC Champions Club, Heinz Field, North Shore, Oct. 12, 2017.
John Altdorfer
Caterine Barfell, Bus Stops Here Foundation, Jerome Bettis Caring for Kids Gala, PNC Champions Club, Heinz Field, North Shore, Oct. 12, 2017.
Jada, Jerome, Trameka and Jerome Bettis, Jr., Bus Stops Here Foundation, Jerome Bettis  Caring for Kids Gala, PNC Champions Club, Heinz Field, North Shore, Oct. 12, 2017.
John Altdorfer
Jada, Jerome, Trameka and Jerome Bettis, Jr., Bus Stops Here Foundation, Jerome Bettis Caring for Kids Gala, PNC Champions Club, Heinz Field, North Shore, Oct. 12, 2017.
Dr. Stanley Marks and Steelers president Art Rooney II,  Bus Stops Here Foundation, Jerome Bettis  Caring for Kids Gala, PNC Champions Club, Heinz Field, North Shore, Oct. 12, 2017.
John Altdorfer
Dr. Stanley Marks and Steelers president Art Rooney II, Bus Stops Here Foundation, Jerome Bettis Caring for Kids Gala, PNC Champions Club, Heinz Field, North Shore, Oct. 12, 2017.
Steelers running back James Conner, Bus Stops Here Foundation, Jerome Bettis  Caring for Kids Gala, PNC Champions Club, Heinz Field, North Shore, Oct. 12, 2017.
John Altdorfer
Steelers running back James Conner, Bus Stops Here Foundation, Jerome Bettis Caring for Kids Gala, PNC Champions Club, Heinz Field, North Shore, Oct. 12, 2017.
Gladys and Gloria Bettis, mother and aunt of former Steelers running back Jerome Bettis, Bus Stops Here Foundation, Jerome Bettis  Caring for Kids Gala, PNC Champions Club, Heinz Field, North Shore, Oct. 12, 2017.
John Altdorfer
Gladys and Gloria Bettis, mother and aunt of former Steelers running back Jerome Bettis, Bus Stops Here Foundation, Jerome Bettis Caring for Kids Gala, PNC Champions Club, Heinz Field, North Shore, Oct. 12, 2017.
Artist  Larry Klu paints a portrait of Jerome Bettis during the Bus Stops Here Foundation Jerome Bettis  Caring for Kids Gala, PNC Champions Club, Heinz Field, North Shore, Oct. 12, 2017.
John Altdorfer
Artist Larry Klu paints a portrait of Jerome Bettis during the Bus Stops Here Foundation Jerome Bettis Caring for Kids Gala, PNC Champions Club, Heinz Field, North Shore, Oct. 12, 2017.
Greta Rooney, Bus Stops Here Foundation, Jerome Bettis  Caring for Kids Gala, PNC Champions Club, Heinz Field, North Shore, Oct. 12, 2017.
John Altdorfer
Greta Rooney, Bus Stops Here Foundation, Jerome Bettis Caring for Kids Gala, PNC Champions Club, Heinz Field, North Shore, Oct. 12, 2017.
KDKA-TV sports anchor Bob Pompeani and Johnnie Bettis, Bus Stops Here Foundation, Jerome Bettis  Caring for Kids Gala, PNC Champions Club, Heinz Field, North Shore, Oct. 12, 2017.
John Altdorfer
KDKA-TV sports anchor Bob Pompeani and Johnnie Bettis, Bus Stops Here Foundation, Jerome Bettis Caring for Kids Gala, PNC Champions Club, Heinz Field, North Shore, Oct. 12, 2017.
LaTasha and former Steelers quarterback Charlie Batch, Bus Stops Here Foundation, Jerome Bettis  Caring for Kids Gala, PNC Champions Club, Heinz Field, North Shore, Oct. 12, 2017.
John Altdorfer
LaTasha and former Steelers quarterback Charlie Batch, Bus Stops Here Foundation, Jerome Bettis Caring for Kids Gala, PNC Champions Club, Heinz Field, North Shore, Oct. 12, 2017.
KDKA-AM morning host Larry Richert, Bus Stops Here Foundation, Jerome Bettis  Caring for Kids Gala, PNC Champions Club, Heinz Field, North Shore, Oct. 12, 2017.
John Altdorfer
KDKA-AM morning host Larry Richert, Bus Stops Here Foundation, Jerome Bettis Caring for Kids Gala, PNC Champions Club, Heinz Field, North Shore, Oct. 12, 2017.
WPXI-TV sports anchor Alby Oxenreiter and Jeremy Drewery,  Bus Stops Here Foundation, Jerome Bettis  Caring for Kids Gala, PNC Champions Club, Heinz Field, North Shore, Oct. 12, 2017.
John Altdorfer
WPXI-TV sports anchor Alby Oxenreiter and Jeremy Drewery, Bus Stops Here Foundation, Jerome Bettis Caring for Kids Gala, PNC Champions Club, Heinz Field, North Shore, Oct. 12, 2017.
KDKA-AM morning host Larry Richert takes a photo of Steelers running back James Conner and Dr. Stanley Marks, Bus Stops Here Foundation, Jerome Bettis  Caring for Kids Gala, PNC Champions Club, Heinz Field, North Shore, Oct. 12, 2017.
John Altdorfer
KDKA-AM morning host Larry Richert takes a photo of Steelers running back James Conner and Dr. Stanley Marks, Bus Stops Here Foundation, Jerome Bettis Caring for Kids Gala, PNC Champions Club, Heinz Field, North Shore, Oct. 12, 2017.
Steelers running back James Conner and Dr. Stanley Marks, Bus Stops Here Foundation, Jerome Bettis  Caring for Kids Gala, PNC Champions Club, Heinz Field, North Shore, Oct. 12, 2017.
John Altdorfer
Steelers running back James Conner and Dr. Stanley Marks, Bus Stops Here Foundation, Jerome Bettis Caring for Kids Gala, PNC Champions Club, Heinz Field, North Shore, Oct. 12, 2017.
Gladys Bettis with granddaughter Jada Bettis, Bus Stops Here Foundation, Jerome Bettis  Caring for Kids Gala, PNC Champions Club, Heinz Field, North Shore, Oct. 12, 2017.
John Altdorfer
Gladys Bettis with granddaughter Jada Bettis, Bus Stops Here Foundation, Jerome Bettis Caring for Kids Gala, PNC Champions Club, Heinz Field, North Shore, Oct. 12, 2017.

This was their guy. Jerome Bettis. The Bus. The guy who retired in 2005 while hoisting a Super Bowl trophy. The Pro Football Hall of Famer. The former Steeler who still parts the waters when he comes back to Pittsburgh. “I'm very proud to call him a Steeler,” said Steelers president Art Rooney II during The Bus Stops Here Foundation's Caring for Kids Gala. “He's someone that's used the platform he has to make other people's lives better.”

Three hundred people agreed. Selling out the event four weeks in advance. Showing up at the PNC Champion's Club at Heinz Field on October 12. Just to see their guy.

“He's a leader,” said KDKA's Bob Pompeani. “Not only as a football player but also as a person who always has time to give back.”

Also on the receiving end of some adoration were the evening's honorees, Hillman Cancer Center chairman Dr. Stanley Marks and Steelers running back James Conner. Dr. Marks served as Conner's physician when he was diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma in 2015 while a junior at the University of Pittsburgh.

“He's the reason why I'm here today,” Conner said.

While DJ Bonics hit the turntables inside, VIPs and sponsors huddled in the tunnels, waiting for their names to be called so that they could hit the field under a cloud of theatrical fog. By the time they emerged, Jerome Bettis—their guy—was waiting to greet them.

“This city has been committed to me. If I can shine a light and do whatever I can to help the community, that's what it's all about,” he said.

On the list: Bettis' wife, Trameka and their kids Jada and Jerome, Jr., his mom Gladys Bettis, aunt Gloria Bettis, and brother John Bettis, Charlie and Latasha Batch, Arthur and Shonda Moats, Joey Porter (who also served as auctioneer), Anthony Chickillo.

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