Fuller Goldsmith, Former Chopped Junior Champion, Beats Cancer for the Fourth Time
[Aug. 19, 2020: Joshua Shavit]
If anyone in the food world can demonstrate resilience, it's Fuller Goldsmith. The now 16-year-old has beat cancer not once, not twice, but four times as he continues to pursue his culinary dreams. The cook and aspiring chef won Chopped Junior in 2017 when he was just 13 years old.
In a recent profile with Seattle Children's Hospital, Fuller Goldsmith said he's back in the kitchen and working to pursue his dream of being a professional chef once again after participating in a cancer immunotherapy clinical trial for acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), which he was first diagnosed with when he was only 3 years old.
It was in the hospital when Goldsmith, receiving treatment at 5 years old, began watching the Food Network. The culinary world provided solace and inspiration for Goldsmith as he battled the disease, according to Seattle Children's Hospital.
On Chopped Junior, Goldsmith continuously impressed the panel of judges as the Tuscaloosa teenager fried up beignets, catfish, and hush puppy-coated chicken tenders. Even after earning the $10,000 prize, Goldsmith hoped to donate part of the funds to Fuller's Fund, which supports families working through pediatric cancer treatment.
After winning the cutthroat show, Goldsmith continued facing challenges. Fuller learned that the cancer returned for a fourth time in late 2018 and was urged by his oncologist in Alabama to seek experimental chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell immunotherapy.
“It was scary hearing the cancer had returned especially since at first, we didn’t think we had any options,” his mother Melissa Goldsmith recalled. "It was really encouraging to know there was another option out there and this wasn't the end of the line." More than a year after the treatment, Goldsmith is still in remission — and he hasn't stopped cooking.
Now, as he remains in remission, Fuller plans on attending culinary school and apprenticing under a top chef, according to the family. He hopes to open two restaurants in the future.
“It’s really rewarding to see kids like Fuller who are so driven toward their dreams that they don’t let cancer stand in their way,” Dr. Rebecca Gardner, one of Fuller’s oncologists at Seattle Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center, said. “They are undeterred in their desire to have a future.”
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How can we help?
The classy.org blog has a list of 10 non-profit charities addressing childhood cancer and support systems related to treatment and long-term care. These charities include:
Ronald McDonald House Charities of Southern California
Children’s Cancer Recovery Foundation
Emilio Nares Foundation
Lucile Packard Foundation for Children’s Health
National Children’s Cancer Society
Other charities include: