Nine-Year-Old “Chef” Jack Witherspoon Teams with Beckstrand Cancer Foundation in Support of Pediatric Cancer Patients

In the United States, 33 children are diagnosed with cancer each day, a statistic that hits home for nine-year-old Jack Witherspoon. As a two-time pediatric cancer survivor and aspiring chef, Jack has raised more than $75,000 to date for leukemia research and is now partnering with Beckstrand Cancer Foundation to help enhance quality of life for kids with cancer through patient advocacy and direct financial assistance with day-to-day basic needs.
“Jack’s story is an inspiring example of what perseverance and hope can accomplish,” shares Lil Spitzer, Executive Director of Beckstrand Cancer Foundation. “We’re delighted to partner with him in broadening the reach of our Psychosocial Pediatric Program, uniquely and effectively providing comprehensive help in the form of research and direct assistance to more children in need.”

At the age of two, Jack was diagnosed with Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia (ALL). He began a course of chemotherapy and steroid treatment that lasted more than three years. Upon entering first grade — just one year later — he relapsed. It was during one of Jack’s 11 subsequent hospital stays that he became fascinated with the Food Network. From then on, Jack knew he wanted to be a chef. His story was covered by Channel 2 News, CNN, and the Los Angeles Times. He cooked with Jay Leno on The Tonight Show and was a guest on The Bonnie Hunt Show. And his deep love of cooking also inspired a series of “Cooking Up Dreams” fundraisers that benefited Jonathan Jaques Children’s Cancer Center (JJCCC) at Miller Children’s Hospital in Long Beach, where he received all of his treatment.

Beckstrand Cancer Foundation was recently recognized as a “Profiles of Courage Honoree” for its collaboration with JJCCC over the years: Supporting its school reintegration program; teen and sibling support groups; providing educational materials, DVDs and laptop computers for the pediatric hematology/oncology unit; developing an art therapy program; and assisting families with financial assistance for food, shelter, transportation and medical-related expenses.

“Jack and our family are excited to be partnering with Beckstrand Cancer Foundation,” states Lisa Witherspoon, Jack’s mom and co-author of “Twist It Up,” his soon-to-be released first cookbook. “Jack has raised money for cancer research, but cancer disrupts every aspect of a family's life. Partnering with Beckstrand Cancer Foundation is a wonderful opportunity for Jack and his story to inspire others to help kids and their families going through similarly challenging situations.”

We will let you know when his cook book is available

This is Jack's own recipe
Jack’s Favorite Turkey Stroganoff
Ingredients: 2tbsp. oil
1 ½ lbs. ground turkey
½ chopped onion
1 c. sliced mushrooms
½ c. beef broth
½ tbsp. Dijon mustard
½ c. milk
2 c. sour cream
Salt and pepper to taste
Hot buttered egg noodles
Chopped parsley

Jack’s Special Seasonings:
3 tbsp. flour
2 ½ tsp. Lawrey’s Salt
¼ tsp. white pepper
2 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. thyme
½ tsp. nutmeg

Heat oil in saucepan. Add onions and mushrooms, cook until soft. Add
turkey, cook until browned. Now add Jack’s special seasonings, (flour,
salt, pepper, garlic, sugar, thyme and nutmeg). Stir and combine well.
Add beef broth, milk and Dijon mustard. Bring to a boil and simmer 10
Add sour cream and heat through.
Serve over warm egg noodles and garnish with chopped parsley

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