Teen with cancer hopes to eat his way across all 50 states

Teenager with cancer and foodie Ali Allouche battles cancer with a big goal in mind: eating at at least 1 restaurant in every single state…

The importance of hope can’t be understated. Without hope, our lives become drab and dark, and each day seems lack any purpose. Most of us would surely lose hope and find ourselves in that dark place if we were diagnosed with cancer not once, but twice before our 18th birthday. Not Ali Allouche. The teenage cancer patient instead set his hopes on visiting at least one amazing restaurant in all 50 states, and we can help make his dream a reality.

Ali’s battle with cancer started at the tender age of 4 when he was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in 2004. Through intense rounds of chemo and radiation, the young boy battled and beat his cancer diagnoses, eventually making it to the 5 year remission mark.

via GoFundMe

After living cancer-free for nearly 12 years, Ali and his mother Jen received devastating news. Just 2 days shy of his 17th birthday, Ali was diagnosed with a bone cancer, likely the result of radiation treatments when he was just a 4 year old boy.

Knowing the daunting road ahead of them, Ali came up with something to hope for, something to look forward to while battling to again be declared cancer-free. Ali’s going to eat his way across all 50 states.

For anyone who has battled cancer, you know your tastes and appetites change dramatically, but instead of becoming disillusioned, Ali and his mother Jen started creating a big list of all the places he wants to go eat both while undergoing treatment and after.

From Ali’s GoFundMe page:

The idea came to Ali one night in the hospital during his second round of chemo while he and Jen were watching his favorite show “Anthony Bourdain, Parts Unknown.” He 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 a map was purchased, pinned to the hospital wall and sticky notes, push-pins and arrows started appearing all over the map as Ali began identifying the restaurant(s) he wants to visit in every state as soon as his taste buds come back and he can keep food down. With the help of the AMAZING staff on the 3W Pediatric Ward at Walter Reed and their food recommendations, Ali was able to complete the map during his latest visit to the hospital.  And now he has a plan!

Anthony Bourdain heard of Ali’s goal and not only donated $3,600, but also invited him to New York City for dinner. (In fact, Ali has been able to visit a few of the great spots on his list already!)

Now, we also have a chance to join the famous chef in making Ali’s dream come true.

More from their GoFundMe page:

Money raised will cover the cost of airfare to various locations and the cost of the meals. Jen and Ali will drive  to restaurants in the mid-Atlantic and east coast and they will cluster restaurants in various states staying with family and friends whenever possible in order to cut down on costs. If you have any ideas on how to make these visits possible or you have connections at these locations or other recommended restaurants please let us know. 

Ali, of course, already has a robust list of restaurants for his journey. (We’ve been to a few on the list, and we can say, Ali, you have excellent taste.)

Here’s a state-by-state breakdown of his preferred stops:

Alabama: Highlands Bar and Grill
Alaska: The Marx Bros Cafe
Arizona: Criollo
Arkansas: The Cliff House Inn
California: San Francisco Quince/ Los Angeles Grand Central Market , Kogi BBQ Food Truck , In-N-Out Burger  / San Diego South Beach Bar and Grill , Sako’s Mediterranean Cuisine , Phil’s BBQ
Colorado: Black Cat
Connecticut: Homestead Inn
Delaware: a(MUSE.)
District of Columbia: Old Europe
Florida: Miami Joe’s Stone Crab / Key West El Siboney
Georgia: Bacchanalia
Hawaii: Umeke’s  and  Ka’aloas Super J’s
Idaho: The Modern Hotel and Bar
Illinois: Alinea and Gino’s East
Indiana: Milktooth
Iowa: Proof and Iowa State Fair Food
Kansas: Joe’s Kansas City BBQ
Kentucky: Harvest
Louisiana: Commander’s Palace and Emeril’s
Maine: Fore Street
Maryland: Mandalay Resturant & Cafe
Massachusetts: Union Oyster House
Michigan: Muldoon’s Pasties
Minnesota: Spoon and Stable
Mississippi: City Grocery
Missouri: Bluestem
Montana: Lucca’s and Sip & Dip Lounge
Nebraska: The Boiler Room
Nevada: The Buffet at Wynn  and The Bellagio Buffet
New Hampshire: Moxy
New Jersey: Cafe 2825
New Mexico: El Pinto
New York: Souvlaki GR , Manousheh and Patacon Pisao 
North Carolina: Durham Picnic / Davidson Kindred
North Dakota: Helena Mezzaluna / Great Falls Kroll’s Diner
Ohio: The Orchids at Palm Court
Oklahoma: Cheever’s
Oregon: Kachka
Pennsylvania: Abe Fisher , D’Alessandro’s Steaks and Hoagies and Reading Terminal Market
Rhode Island: Bouchard Resturant and Inn
South Carolina: Columbia Cola / Charleston Hominy Grill
South Dakota: Meridian Corner
Tennessee: Central BBQ
Texas: Austin Franklin BBQ / San Antonio Biga on the Banks
Utah: MeditrinaThe Kathmandu and Spitz
Vermont: Hen of the Wood
Virginia: Inn at Little Washington
Washington: Canlis
West Virginia: Lot 12 Public House
Wisconsin: Ardent
Wyoming: Snake River Grill

We hope you’ll join us in sending Ali around the United States as he once again defeats cancer.

Here is the link to the GoFundMe page.

For more on his story, check out these local news stories from WUSA 9 and KREM.

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