Chef Juan Carlos Beristain has a reputation for cooking fresh and delicious food at JC’s Café in Cary, Illinois, about an hour outside Chicago. Like a lot of restaurant owners, he uses Facebook to connect with his customers.
Noah Dionesotes has multiple sclerosis and relies on a wheelchair to get around. During his first round of chemotherapy, Noah — who is vegan — commented on Juan Carlos’ vegetable soup on a community Facebook page.
After reading his post and realizing that Noah was too sick to make it into his restaurant, Juan Carlos quickly offered to deliver the soup to him free of charge.
Noah initially refused because he was uncomfortable accepting the help, he told CNN. About a year later, during another round of chemo, he asked his mother to start buying the soup for him.
That’s when Juan Carlos took matters into his own hands.
He personally delivered the soup to Noah and refused to take any money. Juan Carlos told CNN that he was inspired by his parents who always looked for ways to help their fellow humans.
For more than seven months, these special soup deliveries have provided more than just the nutrition that Noah needs to regain his strength. They’ve also led to a special bond between the two men. Noah described Juan Carlos as a warm, positive person who has become his best friend.
Juan Carlos modestly says that he does not think the soup deliveries are a big deal, but he appreciates the attention that the story is receiving because it sheds light on Noah’s quest to to pay for stem cell therapy. He is using GoFundMe to raise $20,000 for the treatment.
The Beristain family is planning to return to the warmer climate of Mexico this summer to take care of Juan Carlos’ ailing father — but in an interesting twist of fate, he and Noah may still be neighbors.
That’s because the center where Noah is going for stem cell therapy is in Mexico, not far from the Beristains.
Noah says it doesn’t matter whether he’s on his feet or in a wheelchair, he will make the trip to visit his friend.
Written by Gabriel Kinder for CNN.
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