If there is one thing football players love to do it's eat. And in many cases, they cook for themselves, trying out new recipes and the like.
On Tuesday they did a little cooking, but this time not for themselves. The players took part in the 9th Annual Healthy Cooking Demo at Magee-Womens Hospital of UPMC for breast cancer survivors and current patients of the hospital's cancer program.
Steelers players take part in a healthy cooking class at Magee-Womens Hospital of UPMC.
"I love cooking, so anything involved with cooking I love to be a part of it," said Stephon Tuitt. "Plus we are here with people who help me realize there is so much more to life. They are sharing their stories with me. It was an awesome time we had."
Some of the players have family members and friends who have been impacted by breast cancer, while some of the others were there to just support anyone who has been impacted. For B.J. Finney, it's personal.
"I have some close family members, friends, battling breast cancer," said Finney. "To be able to come out and show the community they have the love and support of us. Being able to cook for them has been a great time. We put a little soul, a little love into the food. It was a great time."
The players were split into two teams, with Tuitt, Finney and Arthur Moats on one side, and James Conner and Farrington Huguenin on the other. And just like they do in everything else, the players got competitive with their cooking skills. It was all fun, though. The players were hysterical, dancing, singing, and just having a blast and keeping the group laughing the entire time.
"It was a blast," said Moats. "The survivors that are here, it's great to see them. Beautiful smiles, beautiful people. Also hanging out with my teammates, cooking, having fun in the kitchen and being able to bond. I definitely enjoyed it."
In the end everyone was a winner. The class was created to stress the importance of a healthy lifestyle for those who have battled, or are battling breast cancer. One of the key factors for survivors and patients, in addition to the treatment, is maintaining a healthy diet and good nutrition. And what better way to deliver that message than have Steelers players cooking for them.
"First of all they are the Steelers, and everybody is a fan," said Judy Herstine, administrator for the hospital's women's cancer program. "It means a lot to them that can take time out to do something special for them as breast cancer patients and survivors. Plus nutrition is always important, whether you are going through treatment or you are a survivor and you want to help prevent a re-occurrence or cancer."
The class was also a fun escape for those who are going through, or have made it through treatment. There were smiles and laughter, and the patients all had the opportunity to take photos with the players and get autographs.
"It means so much to me. I have been a Steelers fans since I was a child," said Melissa Philson, from Greenville, Pa., who just finished treatment about two weeks ago. "For them to be so supportive of breast cancer awareness month, but also taking this approach to help with nutrition really means a lot. It brings it more down to earth. It's something fun and important."