Allrecipes Cook to Follow: Reed from Illinois
We teamed up with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital® to mark this holiday season with inspiring stories from St. Jude patients who love to cook. Say hello to Reed!
About me: I’m Reed, 12 years old, and from Illinois.
My story: I was just a normal kid doing things kids love to do. Then in spring 2019, I fell from a playground slide, had an extremely bad headache, and was taken to the emergency room. I was diagnosed with medulloblastoma, a type of brain cancer. I went through four surgeries, then got transferred to St. Jude Research Children’s Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee. During my 11 months there, I had 30 rounds of proton radiation and seven cycles of chemotherapy. I had to relearn how to walk, talk, and use my right side again.
My cooking story: While at St. Jude, one of the things I looked forward to was a weekly cooking class at its Kay Kafe. I learned how to make healthy recipes and to try new foods. Cooking is also great therapy—it forces me to use both hands.
Now I love to cook: I’ve cooked everything from meals, desserts, and dog treats. Due to COVID-19, Carol, a local restaurant owner from my hometown, started doing a weekly online cooking class. My sister Sloane and I follow along and cook the meal. It is so much fun!
My favorite things to do: Play video games with my friends, cook, hang out with my sister and brothers, tell jokes, and go golfing with Papa and Grandpa. I’m also a Boy Scout.
What I love most about the holidays: Spending it with my family, baking gingerbread cookies with my Mimi, decorating the Christmas tree, and doing my own shopping for my siblings’ gifts.
My best holiday memory: Last Christmas, Dad, my sister Sloane, and my brothers Jack and Luke all came to Memphis. Because my counts were low from chemotherapy, we mostly just stayed in the apartment and cooked, played games, watched movies, and had Nerf gun wars.
What I want to do when I grow up: Own a restaurant with my sister Sloane.
If I could have a superpower: Super speed, like Flash.
My closest thing to an actual superpower: Strength, which helped me to make it through my treatments. And hug power: My Mom says I give the best hugs.
My favorite dish: Homemade Chicago Style Deep Dish Pizza.
My favorite food from St. Jude: Sweet Potato Pie and enchiladas from Kay Kafe.
If I had to describe St. Jude in one word: Love.
My advice for kids going through what I did: It gets better—just hang in there. Make sure to keep laughing!
Allrecipes is thrilled to be teaming up with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital® in support of its lifesaving mission: Finding cures. Saving children.® We hope you will Join Allrecipes in Supporting St. Jude, giving generously, to help kids like Reed, Shaurya, and Smyrna. Read their inspiring stories—and then give what you can by simply clicking the donate button.