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Sick Teen Takes Epic Foodie Trip, Then Gets Surprise Phone Call.

Ali Allouche is sadly no stranger to hospitals.

When he was just four years old, he was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma. After a rigorous treatment plan with chemotherapy and radiation, Ali was cancer-free by the time he was five. It definitely wasn’t easy, considering that Ali’s mom was on active duty in the Army and also had to care for her two other young kids. But mom Jennifer Danko says, “the family breathed a deep sigh of relief and cautiously waited until [we] hit that magic 5 year window of remission.”


But 12 years after Ali was given the all-clear, he got horrible news.

“Unfortunately, as life would have it, in July 2017 two days before his 17th birthday, Ali was diagnosed with another type of cancer, osteosarcoma, a bone cancer located in his right scapula (shoulder blade) … One of the hardest pieces of information to comprehend is that this secondary cancer was most likely the result of the radiation Ali received to treat his Hodgkin’s Lymphoma 13 years earlier.”


And so, Ali started chemotherapy again. Recently, after wrapping up his first round, Ali went through surgery to remove the affected shoulder blade.


Though Ali still has a long road ahead, with another round of chemo, he has something to motivate him.

Over the years, he’s developed any number of passions, from basketball to lifting weights – but his favorite pastime is definitely all things culinary. Ali loves to cook, eat, and learn all about food.

One night while he was in the hospital with his mom, they were watching his favorite cooking show, “Parts Unknown” with Anthony Bourdain. Ali “turned to his mom and he said, ‘You know, after we get through all of this, once I beat this, we should travel the world and treat ourselves to some good food. You and I deserve that after all we have been through together.'”


The next day, Jen went out and bought her son a map so he could begin plotting their culinary tour de America, now known as the Ali bEATs Cancer Journey. He’s chosen at least one restaurant in each state.

“It’s given him a purpose, a goal and something to look forward to when he is finally cancer-free again for the second time,” Jen says. In an effort to help pay for the trip, Jen started a GoFundMe. Because they can’t do a true road trip as Ali still has chemotherapy to complete, the mother-son duo will make mini trips to each state.


And thanks to more than $31,000 already donated, the two began their journey just last weekend! The first stop was the Inn at Little Washington in Virginia.

They dined on course after course of delectable dishes – Ali was in heaven.


While they still have 49 more states to hit, Ali has been getting some unexpected attention… in the way of celebrity chefs! News has spread of Ali’s journey and chefs from all over the world have been sending in videos of encouragement. During his dining experience just a few days ago at the Inn, Head Chef Patrick O’Connell, called Ali.

Celebrity Chef Robert Irvine sent his thoughts and prayers to Ali in the below video:

If you’d like to donate to Ali’s culinary tour across America (and hopefully beyond!), you can go here.

And don’t forget to share Ali’s story.

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