(Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
Steelers defensive tackle Cameron Heyward is a four-time Pro Bowler and has twice been named first-team All-Pro. Outside of the former Penn Hills and Pitt product, Aaron Donald, who has won Defensive Player of the Year three times, Heyward is the best defensive tackle in the league. He's also one of the nicest guys that you can come across in the NFL. Heyward has given so much back to the Pittsburgh community and to the Suwanee, Ga. community where he grew up and went to high school.
On Thursday, Heyward surprised 14-year-old Steelers fan Jeffrey Flanders and his family on NBC's "TODAY with Hoda & Jenna." Heyward joined the call along with sports trading card collectors who have given Flanders sports cards to help build his collection.
Flanders has cerebral palsy and the COVID-19 pandemic hasn't been easy for him with the isolation. Flanders' parents looked for something to help him, something positive for him to focus on and since he's a huge Steelers fan, he got into the hobby of collecting sports trading cards. The only problem was that they're not easy to find.
So Flanders' mom, Kim, reached out on social media for help, and the rest is history. People from all over the place started sending cards to Flanders.
"I thought somebody would say I've got a couple of cards and maybe we'd get two cards or five cards and add to his collection," Kim said. "I consider a lot of these people friends, even though you have never met them."
Flanders and his family were thrilled once Heyward joined the call after they met the people who sent the cards.
"I am a big fan of yours, Jeff," Heyward told him. "How are you doing buddy? You guys have a great family. I love Jeff and got to hear a little bit about how he likes to collect football cards. Keep up the great work and keep supporting us."
It was a really well-done segment by Donna Farizan, who did the feature for "TODAY with Hoda & Jenna." Flanders' mom described the experience best of meeting the people who sent cards and Heyward.
"A lot of times I think people focus on the negative things around them," Kim said. "I think this just shows there is more good around than there is negative. You have to try and focus on that."
What Kim says is very true. There can be a lot of negativity on social media sometimes, but there's also a lot of good people out there looking to help others.
You can watch the entire feature on Flanders done by Farizan of "TODAY with Hoda & Jenna" in the video below.