15-year-old boy survives cancer 3 times, writes cookbook

REDONDO BEACH, Calif. -- Jack Witherspoon is a 15-year-old gourmet chef. He's also a three-time cancer survivor.

Witherspoon first battled leukemia at age 2. Then, it returned when he was 6.

He was hospitalized for months. He couldn't play outside with his friends.

"I went channel surfing and I found the Food Network. I really fell in love with cooking and food and it really got me through some of the hardest times," Witherspoon said.

While inside his hospital room, he started memorizing different recipes.

"I was able to get ideas, so when I got home, I had everything ready," Witherspoon said.

After cooking for awhile, he decided to write a cookbook of his own recipes.

Before he began promoting his book, "Twist It Up," his cancer returned again.

"The book was kind of put on the back burner while I tried to fight for my life," Witherspoon said.

At 11, he required a bone marrow transplant.

"It was by far the hardest thing I've ever had to go through," Witherspoon said.

After months in and out of the hospital, Witherspoon's health slowly started to improve.

Then, he turned his attention to promoting his book.

He appeared on various TV shows, including appearances with Jay Leno, Queen Latifah, Bonnie Hunt, Marie Osmond, Guy Fieri, and Rachael Ray.

"I looked up and I was like, 'That's Rachael Ray.' My eyes lit up. I was so nervous. I was so excited. I was utterly amazed. That was one of my dreams come true!" he said.

A portion of his book's sales go to cancer research.

Cancer is "such an awful thing and getting rid of it would be an amazing, amazing thing," Witherspoon said.

He's raised $150,000 and counting. He even funded his own room inside Miller Children's Hospital.

The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society named Witherspoon "Boy of the Year" for 2015 .

At a gala on June 13 at Universal Studios, Witherspoon will be honored. He'll also announce the cancer organization's "Man & Woman of the Year."

For ticket information, visit the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's website.

Witherspoon hopes to one day have his own restaurant and cooking show.

"I think one of the big things to take away from my story is to never give up and always follow your passion no matter what gets in the way," he said.

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