It’s sweet, fluffy and the delectable creation of CHOC’s Rayaan Kalhoro.
IHOP Restaurants hosts an annual competition inviting kids treated at Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals like CHOC to submit an original pancake recipe. The winning submission is available on the menu for a limited time, with $1 from each order going to the network’s hospitals.
Rayaan was named 2021 IHOP Kid Chef Champion for his “Caramel Apple à la Mode Pancakes”—buttermilk pancakes with warm apple cinnamon topping, caramel sauce and crowned with vanilla ice cream.
IHOP chose the eight-year-old for his recipe’s originality and taste—and his inspirational story.
Rayaan’s health crisis began when CHOC doctors diagnosed him at 16 months old with Acute Disseminated Encephalomyelitis, a rare autoimmune disorder. His illness was so severe that he was in a coma for three weeks, after which his vision, motor skills, breathing and speech were affected. He had to re-learn how to walk and talk.
With a feeding tube in place, Rayaan was unable to eat. After two years of feeding therapy at CHOC, pancakes were one of the first foods he could eat. His mom, Hina, remembers, “The soft texture combined with butter and syrup was easy to chew and swallow.”
Rayaan continues on the road to recovery—and his talent as an award-winning chef is one result.
As Sharief Taraman, M.D., our Division Chief of Pediatric Neurology, explains, “Rayaan struggles a little bit with fine motor skills. So finding something he’s passionate about and improves his fine motor skills, that’s fantastic.”
Rayaan’s creativity in the kitchen is as remarkable as his determination. “With what he’s gone through,” Hina confides, “he is so extremely resilient and brave.”
She also raves about the outstanding care her son received at CHOC, saying, “He was given a second life.”
Thanks to your heartfelt generosity, children like Rayaan can pursue their passions and live their dreams.
The Kalhoros now serve as ambassadors for CHOC and Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. For information about this volunteer opportunity, current and former CHOC families can contact Rachel Gallegos at Rachel.Gallegos@choc.org or (714) 509-4017.
This story appeared in the January 2022 print issue of the CHOC Chronicles newsletter.