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Steelers players brighten some spirits

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'American Coyotes' Series

Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

Thursday, May 28, 2009
 

An excited Heather Miller of Bedford got a chance Wednesday to meet her favorite football player, Steelers nose tackle Casey Hampton, as part of her Make-a-Wish Foundation request.

Miller, 10, was diagnosed in October with Ewing's Sarcoma, a rare form of cancer of the bone and soft tissue. She applied to Make-a-Wish Foundation, which grants wishes to children 2-18 with life-threatening conditions.

"She could have picked a lot of things for Make-a-Wish. But the Steelers have been her No. 1 thing for as long as I can remember,'' said Wendy Miller, Heather's mother.

While Steelers safety Troy Polamalu previously has visited Heather Miller during her stay at Children's Hospital, yesterday's opportunity was her first to meet Hampton, quarterback Ben Roethlisbeger, kicker Jeff Reed and defensive end Aaron Smith.

"Anything I can do to help is definitely a plus," Hampton said.

At the end of yesterday's practice at the Steelers' South Side facility, Heather Miller was introduced to the entire team in the middle of the field.

"For me to see her out there throwing the football with some of these guys really touches my heart,'' Wendy Miller said. "That's one of the things they told us she wouldn't be able to do. I think she's going on adrenaline. She never asks, 'Why me?' She just wants to get better."

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