by Ella Rubenstein

Written by: Katey McLaughlin, Shawyon Poursaba & Malie Dell’Orco

At just four years old, Ali Allouche was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, as there was a growing on his neck discovered by his mom. At a youthful age, he went through several rounds of chemotherapy, radiation, and surgeries to remove his cancerous lymph nodes. However, that did not stop Ali throughout the process. 

Ali’s sister, Myriam Allouche, said Ali was strong-minded despite the illness. “Despite his early age, Ali faced his illness with more strength and determination than most. He trick-or-treated in the pediatric ward of the hospital when he was too sick to celebrate Halloween at home and laughed at his bald head after all his hair had fallen out” Allouche said. Ali was eventually declared cancer free at six years old. 

However, adversity hit Ali once again. Fast forward 10 years later at 16, he started to feel pain in his shoulders. This eventually led to more scans and appointments, and those led to his diagnosis of Osteosarcoma (Bone Cancer). And just like that, things were back to the way they were when Ali was four years old. 

His diagnosis didn’t stop him from still being himself; he would shave funny shapes into his hair to make his family laugh, and even shared his birthday cake with his nurses. Ali spent time with the younger cancer patients, playing board games and making them smile. Most importantly, he always comforted his mom any time she would start worrying too much. 

Ali went through countless weeks of chemotherapy, and he required multiple surgeries to completely replace his shoulder with titanium. Due to these surgeries, he had to quit his high school basketball team and could no longer raise his right arm higher than his shoulder. Myriam says that throughout all his hardship, “He never gave up hope, for our sake.”  

Ali is now 22 years old and has been cancer-free for four years. He attends Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, California. He loves to ride his bike along the beach, surf in the Pacific Ocean, read any book he can, but most of all, “He loves others,” says Myriam. He loves to make new friends, talk to strangers, and share his story with the hope of inspiring others.  

Myriam and the Allouche family’s other brother, Silas, both attend Penn State. They hoped to dance in THON™ 2023 in honor of Ali and his journey. 

Cover photo credit to: Maggie Chilcutt