The Pittsburgh City Council and council president Theresa Kail-Smith have declared that Monday, Dec. 21, 2020 is Tunch Ilkin Day in the City of Pittsburgh.
Kail-Smith sponsored the proclamation, which honored the career and off-the-field accomplishments of the former Pittsburgh Steelers tackle and current broadcaster, who was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, better known as ALS or Lou Gehrig’s Disease, this year.
“I was honored to present a proclamation to District 2 resident, Tunch Ilkin this week in the Mount,” Kail-Smith said, according to Ilkin’s Instagram page. “He does amazing work with Light of Life and decades of helping people without housing. He is also very active in his church and played football for the Steelers.”
The proclamation highlighted Ilkin’s NFL career, when he was named to the Pro Bowl twice and is a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers All-Time team after spending 13 seasons at tackle for the team, his broadcasting career, where he’s served as a color broadcaster for the Pittsburgh Steelers Radio Network since 1998, and his charitable contributions with The Bible Chapel in the South Hills and the Light of Life Rescue Mission on the North Side.
Ilkin, 63, announced his diagnosis of ALS in October. ALS is a progressive disease of the nervous system that causes lack of muscle control. There is no cure for ALS, and it is not clear what causes the disease. Treatments can help mitigate the symptoms. The average lifespan following diagnosis is two to four years, according to a 2013 study by the National Institute of Health.
Ilkin has remained part of the Steelers broadcast team this season, alongside play-by-play broadcaster Bill Hillgrove and former teammate and sideline reporter Craig Wolfley.
“I want to fight this thing,” Ilkin said in October when announcing his diagnosis. “I’m not going to lay down and take this lightly.”
Kail-Smith said those that wish to honor Ilkin’s recognition should consider donating to the Light of Life Rescue Mission, which helps the city’s homeless.