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Steelers players cook for a cause

What do you get when you have three big football players cook a meal for a roomful of women? Smiles, laughter and plenty of joy and nothing could top that for a group of breast cancer survivors gathered for some healthy cooking tips from the Steelers.

Steelers players take part in a breast cancer healthy cooking class at Magee Women's Hospital.

"It means so much," said Michelle Rende, a survivor who was there with her daughter. "We go through so many treatments and it's very difficult when you first hear the news. For them to come out and give their time is so important to us. It was so nice of them to do it. I can't say enough."

Kelvin Beachum, Ramon Foster and Will Johnson took part in the 6th Annual Healthy Cooking Demo at Magee-Womens Hospital of UMPC for breast cancer survivors who are current or former patients of the hospital's cancer program.

"I think it's great," said Judy Herstine, administrator for the hospital's women's cancer program.  "I think the breast cancer survivors and their guests are very excited to see the Steelers. They are always interested in nutrition, and it's nice to see other people are interested in nutrition too, especially athletes. It's a great bond they share today."

While eating fun, and yes slightly unhealthy fare is a game day ritual for most, the players helped prepare healthy and tasty alternatives for any tailgate party. On the menu were turkey and spinach sliders, chicken and pineapple skewers and banana foster parfaits.

"I thoroughly enjoy this," said Beachum, who chose to serve the food rather than cook. "I know it's a cooking class but I enjoy serving the people and letting them see us in a different light, a Steeler that is willing to serve them as they survive this disease.

"There are some great options here. It's great for them, for their bodies, and we are getting some ideas just being here. It's great to share this moment with some of the women here."

The goal is to promote the importance of a healthy lifestyle for those who have battled breast cancer, as good nutrition and maintaining a healthy weight and diet promotes overall healthy and may protect individuals against the disease.

"I am not the greatest cook, I had my hands tied behind my back but it was fun," said Johnson, who lost his aunt to breast cancer. "Anything I can do to show my support is good for me. My whole family does the Susan G. Komen breast cancer walk, doing this, wearing pink on Sundays. Anything we can do to show our support is good."

The cooking class is part of the Steelers month long commitment to breast cancer awareness, which will be highlighted on Monday, Oct. 20 for the Steelers official NFL Breast Cancer Awareness game when they host the Houston Texans at Heinz Field.

"It's very important to wear the pink because people ask questions why," said Foster. "It raises the awareness due to the color. It helps bring awareness and hopefully helps find cures for it."

And seeing the Steelers in pink also means the world to those who have or are currently battling breast cancer.

"It melts my heart. It honestly melts my heart," said Rende. "The support is incredible and it makes up for all the bad we go through."

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