BETHESDA, MD (WUSA9) - Every few weeks, Ali Allouche is poked, prodded, and pushed to the point of pain.
"I got to do something with your scapula," a physical therapist told Ali as he winced. "Breathe for me and relax."
WUSA9 visited Ali in the hospital this week as he finished his eighth round of chemotherapy.
We first him in November at his home in Fairfax. He and his siblings were building a tent, passing the time before he would return to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center again.
"It feels long and the chemo rounds -some of them can be really hard on my body," Ali said during an interview in November.
Ali was diagnosed with cancer at four-years-old. Doctors diagnosed him with cancer again this past summer. He was just 17-years-old.
For months, Ali and his mom Jennifer Danko have been in and out of Walter Reed-Bethesda for treatments.
"Hold on," said a Walter Reed-Bethesda occupational therapist this week. "You're tense. Try to relax for me."
Along the road to recovery, Ali and Jennifer are planning an adventure.
"I can just tell myself 'After this chemo you're going to go to this nice restaurant,'" Ali said.
They're headed on a foodie road trip-a visit to at least one restaurant in all fifty states.
"It's really like all the chemo leads up to these and then I go to this restaurant and then it's like I'm just working my way up to get another meal," Ali said.
They've already hit local spots like the Inn at Little Washington, and Barrel and Bushel.
"These waiters come up and explain the dish and it's something I've never seen before and it's something crazy," Ali said. "Then he explains what it does whenever it goes in my mouth what happens to my palate, like 'Wow,' like 'Thanks,' like 'Cool!'"
Donations are helping Ali meet his goal.
Ali said he was inspired by Anthony Bourdain's series "Parts Unknown." Bourdain caught Ali's story, and donated $3,600 to Ali's fund.
For Ali, dining isn’t just about the meal on a plate.
"Being with other people and like and eating food is just like that is what speaks to me instead of like the food itself," Ali said.
It's motivation to power past some really tough days.
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