Allrecipes Cook to Follow: Smyrna 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 Smyrna!
About me: My name is Smyrna, I’m 15 years old, and live in Illinois. One week before I turned 13, an MRI showed a mass the size of a golf ball in my head. It was medulloblastoma, a cancer that grows in your medulla and can spread to your spinal fluid. After about 11 months of treatment, I am still me.
My hobbies: I love making crafts, especially with inspirational quotes on them. I also like to read, watch TV, bake and cook, do makeovers (makeup, hairstyles, nails), and spend time with my friends and family.
My favorite recipe: Chicken 65. [Check out Smyrna's favorite version of Chicken 65 from VahChef.]
My favorite foods: Italian, Mexican, and Asian. But I don’t like chocolate or foods that are too sweet.
My favorite holidays to cook for: Christmas, because you can bake a lot of things, and Easter, because of all the mini foods.
My best holiday memory: One Christmas, my family were all at my grandpa’s new house. The adults were assembling a chandelier. My youngest cousin took two pieces of Styrofoam from the box and started to rub them together. Eventually we had lots of tiny pieces that looked just like snow.
If I could have a superpower: It would be to know everything, because you would have the ability to do anything because you know how.
My closest thing to an actual superpower: I don’t want to brag but I’m really creative and a super positive person.
What some people don’t know about me: I’m an only child and I am left-handed.
My favorite food while I was at St. Jude: Locos Doritos Tacos from Taco Bell.
If I had to describe St. Jude in one word: Heavenly. Literally the best—it’s like a dream. Thanks to St. Jude, I am still alive and I am so grateful.
My advice for kids going through what I did: You got this! Never give up, you are so strong and brave, you have so many people who are behind you and who love you and are fighting for you. Always remember, stars can’t shine without the dark.
Best advice I ever got: Treat other people how you want to be treated. My favorite quote is, “Be a pineapple: Stand tall, wear a crown, and be sweet on the inside.”
Find the recipe for the Pineapple Sunshine Cake Smyrna makes at Belle of the Kitchen.
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 Smyrna, Reed, and Shaurya. Read their inspiring stories—and then give what you can by simply clicking the donate button.