Cooks Care: Aria Kagan's Marathon Run

Two years ago I lost my father—my best friend and someone who represented all that is good in the world—to cancer. Since then I’ve set out to celebrate his life however I can. When I came upon Fred's Team and the New York City Marathon, I knew it was a perfect fit! Fred’s Team and its dedicated runners raise money for Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York. With the money that is raised, MSKCC continues to work on finding better treatments, research and hope for a world without cancer.

I had never run a marathon before, but I felt it was an amazing challenge with a fabulous purpose. Training for a marathon takes a lot of dedication. I figured if my father could endure three years of chemo, radiation and multiple surgeries, I could totally run 26.2 miles. And so I did.

This year, I will be running in the 2010 NYC Marathon again with Fred’s Team (check out my Fred's Team Page). I decided this year instead of just asking people to donate money, I wanted to do something to bring everyone together and celebrate the beauty of life.

I decided if I was going to do something, I had to do it big! Soooo, I called up my buddy, Herb Mesa (check him out on's Healthy Eats blog), my fellow finalist from The Next Food Network Star, and asked him if he would be willing to come to Florida and teach his super outrageous boot camps to raise money for Fred’s Team. He enthusiastically agreed! On October 17th and 18th, he will be teaching 3 boot camps—two at a local park and one on the infamous Golden Beach. And, Timo Restaurant in Sunny Isles, Fla., is hosting an amazing fundraising dinner for us on October 17th. We are looking forward to an incredible two-day event filled with lots of fun, excitement and the gift of bringing people together for a wonderful cause.

While I train, I have to eat and cook differently. My favorite thing to prepare is my gingery sunflower studded lentil soup…I just love it. It makes me feel so energized. Now that the weather is getting cooler, this is the perfect way to replenish my body. And the smell—wow! It makes my house feel so warm and cozy. I hope it makes your house feel that way, too.

--Aria Kagan

For more about Aria, check out her Facebook Fan Page.

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