Roethlisberger lends hand to Challis outing
TEXT SIZE By: Mike Bires Beaver County Times
Monday June 28, 2010 11:51 PM
Times photo by LUCY SCHALY
Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger hits from a fairway at the third annual John Challis Foundation golf outing at Chartiers Country Club Monday.
ROBINSON TWP. — To help perpetuate John Challis’ message of living life to its fullest, Ben Roethlisberger played golf.
The Steelers’ quarterback, who had befriended Challis during his battle with cancer, was among 99 participants at the third annual John Challis Courage for Life Foundation Golf Outing.
“I’m here for John and his family and the good things they’re doing through their foundation,” Roethlisberger said between swings at Chartiers Country Club.
Challis, who attended Freedom High School and was a member of the Bulldogs’ football and baseball teams, died in August of 2008, just two months after he graduated. But his memory lives on.
With a motto of “Courage + Believe = Life,” the Courage for Life Foundation raises funds for athletes between the grades 9 through 12 who are dealing with life-threatening illnesses. Those funds are used to provide memorable sports experiences for those athletes.
Monday’s golf outing may raise as much as $20,000 for the cause.
“It was great to have Ben here today,” said Jodi Jaworowski, Challis’ aunt and the president of the Courage for Life Foundation. “Ben brought a lot of positive energy. He was very kind, very friendly and very interested in our mission.”
Not only did Roethlisberger pay $600 for a foursome that included former Steelers’ running back Merrill Hoge, he also brought with him two of his autographed jerseys for the post-golf auction and raffle.
“I’m glad that I got to know John. He was really a great kid,” Roethlisberger said. “I got to spend time with him a couple times when he came to training camp. And he was up with us in Mario Lemieux’s booth for one of the Penguins’ playoff games two years ago.
”I jumped at the opportunity to play today because it’s for a great cause.”
The Courage for Life Foundation, founded at Challis’ request, has had three recipients who’ve had their sports experience wishes fulfilled.
The first was Taylor Dettore, a volleyball player and cheerleader from Neshannock who’s a cancer survivor. Dettore was treated to a Penguins’ playoff game in 2009.
The second was Brandon Chamberlain, who overcame heart surgery to become a starter on the Springdale High School baseball team. Chamberlain was treated to a trip to Fenway Park to watch the Boston Red Sox play last July.
The third was Tyler Potts, a recent Hopewell grad who’s being treated for leukemia. Potts, who hopes to one day play football again at Geneva College, was treated to a Penguins’ game against the Philadelphia Flyers in March.
“I’m doing better, much better than I was doing before,” said Potts, who golfed Monday at Chartiers. “I played OK today, especially since this was the first time I played on a course. I even made a 45-foot putt. And I got to talk to Ben Roethlisberger for a few minutes.
“It was real nice having him here today. It’s good having a big name here. Ben being here can only bring more attention to the foundation.”